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Joyce Endee

School safety, enrollment top Barnstead agenda

December 26, 2012
BARNSTEAD — Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the Dec. 18 Barnstead School Board meeting began with a moment of silence for the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.

Barnstead Elementary School Principal Tim Rice informed the board that the school held a meeting the previous evening allowing parents to state safety concerns.

"It was standing room only…a lot of good questions," said Rice of the meeting.

Board Chairperson Diane Beijer stated that a lot of interest has been expressed in looking for a School Resource Officer (SRO).

Board member Kathy Preston questioned whether the SRO would be employed by the police or the school. She expressed concern over an SRO employed by the police being called from the school for other police business.

Superintendent of Schools John Fauci said that the role of an SRO would need to be defined.

Preston brought up the idea of bullet proof glass in the front of the building. Fauci pointed out that there were many other windows in the school that would still be accessible.

Fauci went on to recognize that recess was a time when the children were more "vulnerable," stating that the important thing was to have a comprehensive plan in place "…and I think we do."

Fauci said that he believed the teachers at Sandy Hook showed they knew what to do in an emergency, and by all accounts, that knowledge saved lives. He went on to say he was looking at this issue through many different lenses including those of first his role as a parent, then grandparent and principal as well.

Vice Chairperson Eunice Landry stated that she heard one part of the country was talking about training their teachers to use guns. Several members of the board, including Landry, stated this was not an idea they supported.

Rice told the board that the students have recently performed in a number of concerts and that they have done a great job. The children recently walked to the town hall and preformed for veterans. Rice praised the music teacher for doing a good job.

In an enrollment update, Rice said the school was holding steady and he did not anticipate a big influx of students.

Assistant Principal Scott Young told the board that currently he was "data-chasing" the information he needed to put together a comparison report on discipline. The report would be a comparison between Barnstead Elementary and other schools.

The New England School Development Council did a study on Barnstead Elementary and its projected enrollment. The study was done to determine if the board needed a Space Needs Committee to do a study on the school. The results were presented by Fauci.

Fauci shared the data in a slideshow and interpreted it as predicting slow, but steady growth. According to the study by the year 2022 the number of students at Barnstead Elementary School would be close to 600. Currently enrollment is at 523.

The board determined that according to this study a Space Needs Committee would be required.

The Barnstead School Board will hold its next meeting on Jan. 22.

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