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School board recognizes swim team, focuses on school safety

Clarence girls varsity swim team, 2012 state champions.

BY: Kaitlin Fritz, Metro Source | January 17, 2013

The Clarence Board of Education met Monday. To begin the meeting, the board welcomed the Girls New York State Champion Swim Team from Clarence High School.

Coach Joe Zwierzchowski announced each swimmer individually. For each one, he told their story of success and even the future plans for some. Each swimmer received a dri-fit Nike shirt to help commemorate their state championship win.

“This swim team is the product of community and the process started a long time ago,” said Zwierzchowski as he began speaking of his team. “I often refer to these girls as the epitome of work ethic.”

Another topic of discussion was school safety. Superintendent Geoffrey Hicks mentioned the several immediate, short term and long term plans to help keep Clarence schools safe.

“The Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy makes all of us rethink. We’ve refocused,” he said.

Meetings have already taken place with the clerical staff and principals of each building about safety during the school day and letting visitors into the schools.

As the procedure has been in the past, all visitors must sign in at the school and receive a visitor badge, which must be worn throughout their entire visit. This procedure is no different than before but the rules are now stricter.

The next plan that Hicks mentioned was practicing an intruder lockdown drill at the high school. He said that other drills such as fire drills are routinely practiced and that the students are great at them. The entire high school empties in less than three minutes in the event of a fire drill. Lockdown drills have also taken place but an intruder lockdown drill has never been practiced. Hicks would like to bring in the Erie County Sheriff Department’s swat team for the drill. The department has already agreed to allow the swat team to participate in the drill.

Administrators and principles from other schools in the Clarence School District and from other districts will be invited to view the drill to see how it is done.

Hicks also plans to bring a proposal to the board next month for students and staff to have electric swipe cards in order to enter the school. This is one of the short term plans and Hicks thinks that this system could be put into the schools before the end of the school year and would cost less than $50,000 of the budget.

This topic will be discussed at the next school board meeting. The next meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11 at Clarence Middle School.

In other school news:

Clarence School Board Member Julie Ann McCullough received a school board achievement award.

The board approved the donation of a scoreboard for the softball field donated by the Clarence Rotary Club and the Clarence Softball Association.

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