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The Lake News Online
  • Making schools safer

  • A cooperative effort to ensure the safety of students and faculty at School of the Osage is ongoing.
    That was the message during the regular meeting of the board of education Monday night when school officials and chiefs of police from Lake Ozark and Osage Beach addressed the board.
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  • A cooperative effort to ensure the safety of students and faculty at School of the Osage is ongoing.
    That was the message during the regular meeting of the board of education Monday night when school officials and chiefs of police from Lake Ozark and Osage Beach addressed the board.
    "I have good news," LOPD Chief Mark Maples told the board. "The district has a plan that we can live with. The door has been opened to us to make assessments of the facilities and the plans."
    The LOPD and OBPD have jurisdiction within the Osage School district -- the LOPD at Mills Elementary and the Heritage Campus and the OBPD at the Highway 42 campus.
    OBPD Chief Todd Davis said his department has been visiting the various buildings to update teachers and staff on how to handle potential intruder/active shooter/lethal assailant situations. The department has also increased random patrols of the buildings.
    Both departments have made suggestions to faculty, staff and administrators at all schools. These include making sure utility doors are locked, not propping doors open and the possible consequences of leaving doors unattended.
    Maples said he was "stern with the staff" in reviewing his concerns.
    "I think the staff and administration have done great work to make sure they're doing good things," he said.
    Having more of a police presence has already made a difference in deterring problems with child custody situations over the past several years.
    Superintendent Brent Depeé said he was equally pleased with how well the departments and school have worked together.
    "I couldn't ask for more support, and I'm sure it goes both ways," Depeé said. "I appreciate what you (LOPD and OBPD) have done for the district."
    He said safety in the schools is a balance.
    "We don't want to be reactive; we want to be prepared. We'll have to address this again and again," he said. "We'll always seek to better protect our kids. People stop people. Bullet proof glass and bars don't stop people."
    The board was also informed that each building emergency response team met to review safety procedures and a district level meeting was held Jan. 18. The district will also be hosting an outside agency/emergency responder meeting in February for all agencies that would be involved in a crisis event. The district plans to institutionalize these meetings into, at a minimum, biannual events.
    Maples said it's important to keep the schools and the police departments "current and in the forefront. This is something we take very seriously. It's a dual learning process, and we're tweaking our operation as well."
    New name
    The board approved a recommendation from Depeé to rename the Lake Ozark school campus.
    Page 2 of 2 - Effective immediately, the complex of buildings near Henderson Road and School Lane will be called the Mills Campus, with the Heritage Building now called Heritage Elementary Building.
    The decision is in anticipation of the $22 million bond issue April 2 that would fund renovation and expansion of the Heritage complex to house preschool and K-2 students.
    Other business
    •Agreed to use SM Wilson & Co. of St. Louis to be the construction manager if voters approve the Heritage Building renovation and expansion ballot issue in April. The district used SM Wilson during the Middle School project.

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