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Friday, May 6, 2016

Committee meets with safety specialist

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ray Azar
The Clay Community School Corporation Safe School Committee met Tuesday with Vigo County School Corporation School Safety Specialist Ray Azar to gain another opinion on procedures, communication and technology in school safety.

Azar is familiar with Clay Community Schools as his first job was in the corporation.

He told the committee that the drive-by shooting at Van Buren Elementary School prompted Vigo County schools to review and update its safety plan.

Azar detailed ways Vigo schools updated its communication, which has become a priority in the Clay corporation.

Vigo uses a countywide radio system as a backup if phone lines are down. The radio system has been tested consistently since the discovery of some corporation employees who were unable to operate the radios correctly.

"One piece of the puzzle," was how Azar described the radios.

Vigo County schools educate 16,000 students in 29 different buildings, and consistency has been a challenge for the schools.

"Schools don't always speak the same language," Azar said.

Also, the Vigo County Corporation is employing a strict criminal history check program for all volunteers, contracted workers and fundraising representatives.

CCS Superintendent Dan Schroeder asked about costs for the communication and preventative measures, as well as the digital security system Vigo County employs.

Azar said the cameras and related equipment cost $800,000, but was being used effectively to identify parties in fights as well as have visual record of who has signed students out.

Although Vigo County is consistently one of the top corporations in the state, in terms of cash balance, Azar stated funding is still a concern.

"Security is just like curriculum -- it costs money," Azar said.

Azar is also concerned about the growth of the role of School Safety Specialist.

His main duties, as Director of Student Services, include suspensions and expulsions.

But Azar said he currently spends 60-70 percent of his time working on school safety issues.

The Clay Committee had opportunities to ask Azar questions about procedures and recommendations.

Clay Community School Corporation School Safety Specialist Lynn Stoelting appreciated Azar presenting his work, and "being able to vent ideas off one another."

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