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Officer to walk Central's halls
Beginning this school year, Pickerington High School Central will have a full-time police officer stationed in its halls.
The Pickerington Local School District is negotiating a contract with the city of Pickerington for the Central prevention officer and a DARE officer for Diley Middle.
At their July 17 meeting, several council members voiced concerns about approving a contract that would provide the DARE program to only one of the district's three middle schools.
Councilman Jeff Fix voted against the contract because Harmon Middle and the new Tollgate Middle were not included in the DARE program. His motion to hold the first reading of the agreement until the contract could be corrected received no support.
"I am a big believer in the (DARE) program," Fix said. "My daughter graduated from it three years ago and it had a big impact on her."
Fix said he and School Board Member Lee Gray wish to form a group with the treasurers and officials from both jurisdictions "to find a way to fund all three schools."
Other council members disagreed.
"Leave the policy decisions of the school board up to the school board," Councilman Michael Sabatino said. "I am really concerned that once it goes on the table it won't come off in time for the beginning of school."
Councilman Brian Wisniewski supported Sabatino's position.
"The school board doesn't tell us how to do our business," Wisniewski said. "One school is better than none."
"My kids both went though the DARE program and Central," Mayor Mitch O'Brien said. "After the events of last year the school district has made a good decision in hiring an additional officer. The DARE program is valuable."
After the meeting, School Board Member Wes Monhollen said the reason that Diley was the only middle school listed in the agreement was because it was the only middle school within the city limits.
The other two schools are located inside the unincorporated portion of Violet Township and therefore fall into the jurisdiction of the Fairfield County Sheriff's office.
"There are other ways to deliver that program," Monhollen said.
Monhollen "suspects" the school board will discuss the issue at its August meeting.
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