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School safety takes center stage at Canfield school board meeting

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It was an evening filled with passion on both sides at the Canfield Local Schools Board of Education meeting Wednesday night.

From concerned parents of children in the district, to the students themselves—those in the boardroom were anxious for answers.

“We hear you, we are taking it serious and we should,” said district superintendent, Alex Geordan seated alongside school board president David Wilkeson.

The board cited plans to host a public forum immediately following spring recess—but for some parents in the room—that’s not enough.

“What does zero-tolerance mean?” asked one concerned mother, after she wasn’t notified of a recent threat at Canfield Village Middle School from district administration.

She also shared with the room her sixth grade son’s fear of attending school following recent national school-shooting events.

School board vice president Craig Olson stated “everything is taking off in the wrong direction.”

When parent Vicky Palmer shared instances of her young son’s teacher telling students what they should do in a time of crisis, she stated “teachers shouldn’t be making up their own minds,” on issues such as these.

Silence filled the crowded room as Geordan asked six principals from all four school-buildings if their teachers “make up their own minds” when it comes to safety.

“That says it all right there,” said Palmer.

Other passionate matters raised Wednesday night came from Canfield High School students.

They call themselves the C.A.V.S.—or Committee Against Violence in Schools. 


Juniors Sydney Karlock and Gabby Sammarone—and Senior Anna Sinclair (pictured above) are just three members of the student-led committee. 

Sinclair spoke on behalf of the group in front of parents, teachers and the board raising suggestions such as additional student-resource-officers in school buildings to protect students rather than the single officer the district has now.

Other propositions outlined in a proposal drafted by students included items such as school-issued student identification cards, a well-trained crisis team that may act using “non-lethal force” in the event of a school threat, and updated training techniques for students and educators alike.

The five page school safety proposal also covered the need for additional school guidance counselors, citing mental health as a key issue that needs addressed moving forward when discussing these sensitive matters.

All of this, Sinclair stated is to “find out how to stop a school shooting before it begins,”

As the heated back-and-forth exchanges between board members and parents continue while they demand action—it’s the students themselves who are seeking the changes on their own. 

Recently, senior Melissa Dahman has been negotiating a school-sponsored trip to the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to meet with lawmakers and share their proposals.

Students hope to extend their advocacy on a platform larger than Canfield while still keeping their message strong in the community.

Before the school safety portion of the March 21 board meeting concluded, vice president Craig Olson requested the students in the room seeking action “teach somebody else before you go,” noting the many seniors involved in the movement.

The Canfield School Board said they are conducting several meetings with officials such as Canfield Police Chief Chuck Colucci to further develop plans concerning student safety as well as looking at new policy measures for the district.


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The student news site of Canfield High School.
School safety takes center stage at Canfield school board meeting