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State Lost Safety Plan, Meister Says

Connecticut Tragedy Spurs Attention


Tim Meister

Tim Meister

The Four County Career Center submitted a safety plan to the Ohio Attorney Generaloffice, but it was lost somewhere in the AG office.

That’s what Tim Meister, FCCC superintendent, told this newspaper last week.

Four County was highlighted by a Toledo television station news program, after the AG office said it was one of 97 school districts across Ohio that had failed to submit plans.

The alleged lack of safety plans came to the forefront in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school shooting incident.

A gunman in that city shot his way into an elementary school on Friday, Dec. 14.

Using an assault-style rifl e, he murdered 26 people, including 20 first-grade children.

The Plans

Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the attorney general office, said each Ohio school must submit a floor plan of the school building, plus a written description of procedures for a variety of types of emergencies, including fire, tornadoes, and “active shooters.”

Building plans are uploaded to the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, a statewide website that is available to law enforcement personnel.

If there is an emergency at a school and an out-of-town agency such as police or firerescue responds, the building floor plan will be available to them via in-vehicle laptop computers or other means.

First required in 2007, each school must update their plan every three years, whenever an old school is renovated, or a new building is constructed.

Tierney said the first major group of updates was due in 2011.

A check of safety plans was done after the Feb. 27 school shooting in Chardon, where a teenage gunman killed three students at the community high school

In late October, more than 2,000 letters were mailed to schools that had either not filed a safety plan or had not updated it.

There is no penalty if a school does not file the required safety plan, but, “it only benefits the students to have the plan submitted,” Tierney said.

Letter Received

Meister, who took over as FCCC superintendent at the start of the 2012-13 school year, said the letter from the AG office was received either Nov. 1 or Nov. 2.

“In checking with our people, they informed me one (safety plan) had been sent as required,” Meister said.

“I called the AG office and spoke to Dana Forney.

“She informed me that the responsible office in charge of tracking the safety plans had been switched to the AG office in the past year or so, and that in the transition, they were finding many (safety plans) were lost, misplaced, unaccounted for, etc.,” Meister said.

That was before the Connecticut school shooting, he said.

As of Wednesday, Dec. 19, Tierney said records in the attorney general office showed that FCCC had still not filed a safety plan. The record would be updated in a few days.

The Archbold Buckeye asked to interview Forney, but on Dec. 19, Tierney said, “We must decline your request for interview of Ms. Forney at this time.”

Plan Sent

Meister said PLE (Professional Law Enforcement) Group, Dayton, prepared the safety plan for Four County.

Meister said he asked PLE to respond to the Attorney General office.

On Thursday, Dec. 20, Meister said, “An email has been sent to the AG office containing the necessary safety plan and items for Four County school.

“I had PLE submit it on our behalf, so this time, there was a third-party witness involved.”–David Pugh

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