POINT PLEASANT — At Thursday’s meeting of the Mason County Board of Education, board members discussed security in the parking lots of the county’s secondary schools.
It was stated at the meeting there had been several vehicles which were broken into during recent and past football games, particularly at Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School (PPJSHS). One board member stated there had recently been a night where several cars were broken into and police were present, but then the board wasn’t made aware, or given a report of any kind to inform them. The board continued, saying they were unsure if the police would normally report to the board for that kind of situation simply because it happened on school property.
Ruth Caplinger, Director of Facilities, discussed some of the concerns regarding lighting in the parking lot, stating some of the different lights turn on based on the sun and how dark it is outside, and others come on at a set time. She stated since it is beginning to get darker at an earlier time, she will look into getting the timed lights on sooner.
It was also discussed getting police to patrol the parking lot during the football games as well. Superintendent Suzanne Dickens stated she had previously requested that officers watch the parking lot. It was also stated several officers are present during the football games and the board will look further into the possibility of having the parking lots patrolled during the football games.
Board members also discussed a request from the PPJSHS Leadership Team to be exempt from policy number 5136, Wireless Communication Devices. The policy currently states that while at school students are permitted to use wireless communication devices before and after school and during their lunch break. Board members stated the PPJSHS Leadership Team requested they be able to use their cell phones in between classes. Dickens, along with some board members, stated they didn’t have a problem with the request.
Other board members also stated if one school permits the students to use their cell phones between classes, then students from other schools will also want that privilege. Board members also inquired how the school would monitor such cell phone use if permitted. Dickens stated if other schools would want the same privilege, it would come down to whether the respective principal of that school would want to allow the cell phone use, and then submitting a separate request. It was also stated that PPJSHS Principal William Cottrill would be contacted and the matter will be discussed further at a later meeting.
“This is a big change,” Board President Thomas Nunnery said.
Treasurer Gary Hendricks, along with Caplinger, also addressed the board concerning some maintenance concerns with Roosevelt Elementary School, particularly the school’s boiler. Caplinger stated that while looking to replace the boiler, they had looked into several energy saving options, as well as options that would save money, and the result was looking into purchasing a propane boiler. Caplinger stated the propane boiler would be more cost effective and the savings from the energy efficient items would also save money to fund other projects. More on this matter will also be discussed at a later meeting.
Also speaking to the board was Chuck Stanley, who addressed his concerns regarding a dusk to dawn light at Wahama Junior/Senior High School. Stanley said there were several instances where the light has not been working and as a result, those selling tickets to Wahama football games must do so with a flashlight. Dickens commented the light had been fixed several times, but often breaks down again. It was also stated there is a switch to this light, and it simply keeps getting turned off. As a result of bringing this concern to the board again, Maintenance Director Cameron Moffett was also made aware and stated the matter will be looked into.
In addition to Superintendent Dickens, board members present were Thomas Nunnery, Randy Searls, Greg Fowler, Paul Sayre, and Dale Shobe.
The Mason County Board of Education will meet again for a regular business meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at the Mason County Career Center.