By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Bowling Green School Board heard about some tough subjects Tuesday evening – a high school student taking his life, a bomb threat at an elementary, and the need for more modulars at overcrowded schools.
Counseling has been available for students and staff affected by the loss of a classmate Eric Baer, Superintendent Francis Scruci said.
“These events leave us with many questions, and very few answers,” Scruci said.
Next week, the district plans to offer some type of program for parents, focusing on the potential signs of suicide, how to discuss the topic with children, and resources available in the community. The particulars on the meeting will be released once determined.
Scruci thanked the Bowling Green Police Division for ongoing communication with the district, and Children’s Resource Center for helping provide counseling for students.
The superintendent also updated the board and community on the hand-written pipe bomb threat mailed to Kenwood Elementary last week. The letter was opened after school ended for the day, and the police division had the building secured within minutes, then searched the school with a bomb-sniffing dog.
The police division then provided additional security at all the schools the remainder of the week.
“Bowling Green Police Division is a great partner,” Scruci said.
While he praised the local emergency response, Scruci publicly criticized the comments made on Facebook by school critic Grant Chamberlain on the bomb threat. Chamberlain advised parents to remove their children from Kenwood due to the “downward spiral” of the elementary.
“As if the staff of Kenwood was responsible for getting a pipe bomb threat in the mail,” Scruci said.
“It is not a failing school,” the superintendent said. “This negativity serves no purpose. It’s important for the community to support and not tear down.”
Scruci’s comments were met with applause from those attending the school board meeting.
Also at the meeting, the board approved the leasing of two modular classrooms to ease crowding. One will be placed at Conneaut Elementary, the other at Crim Elementary.
The modulars cost $1,600 per month, with the district paying $246,355 to lease them for 60 months.
Board member Paul Walker questioned the need for such a long lease. But Scruci said even if the district passes a levy to build new elementary space, that won’t be ready for at least three years.
“We have no guarantee what the community will do,” Scruci said of the building issue going on the ballot.
Also at the meeting, the board accepted the retirements of Conneaut Principal Jim Lang, and high school teachers Margaret Maidlow and Ellyn Stout.
In other business, the board:
- Heard from Scruci that the district is working with the city on creating a bike path to connect the middle and high school with City Park and the community center. “That would be a tremendous benefit to our students,” he said.
- Voted to purchase two Bluebird school buses for a total of $185,938.
- Recognized art students for their success in the Ohio Art Education Association competition and duck stamp contest. Those students were Madison Bosworth, Lucy Nomaguchi-Long, Katelynn Rashley, Rafif Almaghrabi, Payton Myers, Kamryn Spencer, Etta Gallaway, Guo Wells-Jensen, and Molly Barber.
- Recognized students who participated in the All-State Choir performance: Lexie Bechstein, Julia Barnett, Finley Hughes, Corinna Kramer, Tess Challu and Cole Boswell.
- Recognized the achievements of swim team members Zane Kirchner, Darrin Kirchner, Jack Burroughs and CJ Layne. Coach Gary Layne was also recognized as Division 2 coach of the year.
- Approved a student trip for DECA members to Orlando, with costs paid by Penta, student contributions and fundraisers.
- Approved a trip for the Madrigals to a Mud Hens game and Cedar Point, with costs paid by performance donations and student payments.