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Bernie has eye on safety; flu moves in

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Purchase this photo at dailystatesman.com NOREEN HYSLOP-nhyslop@dailystatesman.com Bernie School Board Member Denny Riddle, at left, and Board President David Blevins listen as Supt. Doug Ruck discusses safety issues facing the district. A study of the district's needs is in the works to determine what measures might be taken to better protect Bernie students.

Managing Editor

BERNIE, Mo. - With a commitment of student safety and in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut one month ago that claimed 26 lives, Bernie School board members agreed with Supt. Doug Ruck this week to more closely examine options that would provide a greater measure of safety for their students.

"These buildings that were put up 20 and 30 years ago were not built to keep people out," Ruck told the board.

"We're going to have a company come down and do a walk-through," Ruck told the board, "and see about better ways to secure out buildings."

Bernie Schools, like many of the older rural campuses in Southeast Missouri, is made up of buildings linked together by open air walkways -- a feature on school campuses that are quickly becoming extinct given the history of school shootings over the past few years.

"It's a concern," Ruck said.

The district will consider in the near future enclosing the campus and possibly utilizing a lock-down system as they look at avenues that might be employed to keep Bernie students safe.

"What about the doors to our classrooms?" inquired Board Member Kenneth Walters.

Ruck assured the board that all classroom doors are locked during the course of the school day.

"We've got to do the best we can to deter them (intruders) from entering out buildings."

A comprehensive look at safety related options on the campus of Bernie Schools will be examined further during upcoming meetings of the board.

Reports from building principals revealed a sudden drop this week in student attendance figures. While last week's attendance maintained an average near 97 percent, that number dropped drastically Monday to about 91 percent -- a sign, Ruck said, that the widespread flu epidemic has reached Stoddard County.

The filing period for April's election ended at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Ruck informed the board that two candidates had filed for the terms of Board Members David Blevins and Ron Owens, neither of whom chose to refile. Zack Tanner and David Mayberry will be sworn in as board members in April. Since they were the only two to file, there will be no election of board members in Bernie.

Board members reviewed bids from four roofing firms regarding repair on a section of the elementary building roof. The board accepted the the low bid of $60,215 from Pyramid Roofing.

In routine action, the board reviewed two program evaluations. Evaluations of the Gifted Program and the district's Personnel Program met with board approval.

Christal Austin was added to the substitute teacher list in regular session, and LaKrecia Roe was added to the substitute cook/custodian list.

In executive session, Elementary Principal Tommie Ellenburg and Debbie Freed were named as co-directors of the elementary volleyball program at Bernie.

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