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Clintonville superintendent talks safety practices

Discipline practices, threats, drills discussed

By Erik Buchinger

Clintonville Public School District Superintendent David Dyb presented school violence and safety drill reports to the Clintonville School Board on Monday, Dec. 10.

At the beginning of the school year, administration underwent safety training, which was then broken up by each school building to train the teachers.

“Each building documents every student incident,” Dyb said. “In addition to all our trainings, we have a district-wide spreadsheet where we go through all our safety trainings, whether it’s a fire drill, tornado drill or a specific building training.”

Police Chief Jim Beggs taught the administration and staff the idea of “Run Hide Fight” for use in active shooter situations. Staff also took online training for school violence threats.

Recently, a county officer visited to talk about the drug culture and how that relates to school violence.

“Any time there is a threat, it has to be investigated and reported back to the police department,” Dyb said.

Dyb said threats are handled by the School Safety Intervention Team (SSIT), which consists of principals and counselors among other members.

At the elementary school, Dyb said incidents in which students use a banana like a weapon or make hand gestures as a gun are used as a learning experience for students and parents.

“With the younger kids, there is a very educational aspect of things, instead of suspending them out the door,” Dyb said.

Dyb said the situation is handled with help from the district’s police liaison officer, Dennis Finger.

“Those things are security threats, and they are investigated,” Dyb said. “Dennis, along with the associate principal and principal, contact the parents and sit down for an educational assessment with this learning experience.”

Dyb said the first thing Finger does is find out if there is truly a threat from the student. He said some parents have been upset about these meetings because they view the situations as minor incidents.

“Some parents have not been happy about this, but as we tell them, we are required by state law that every single thing that involves a threat has to be documented,” Dyb said. “It has to be reported. Instead of suspending them from school, we take a look at the environment of the situation in which it happened.

“For example, if there was a miscommunication on the playground and a kid said something, instead of throwing the kid out of school, maybe they’re suspended for recess for a few days. Or if something happened in a classroom, we remove them from the classroom as kind of their pseudo-suspension, but we’re not kicking kids out of school after we go through the protocol and find out there really wasn’t a threat. You have to intervene and use it as a learning experience.”

Dyb said it can be a learning experience for the administration, staff and the parents as well.

“They’ll say, ‘Oh what’s the big deal?’” Dyb said. “Well unfortunately it is a big deal, and we have to follow protocol with this.”

Dyb said situations are handled differently at the elementary school than at Clintonville Middle School and Clintonville High School.

“[Older students] have more knowledge of what’s right and what’s wrong,” Dyb said. “You have to go a little deeper as to how serious of a situation this is.”

Dyb said the administration moves quickly when there is a perceived threat at the high school and middle school levels.

“It’s an automatic call. We get Dennis on the phone, he meets with us and/or the child and a call gets placed to the parent,” Dyb said. “Depending on the situation of what goes on, there has to be intervention and school discipline associated with that.”

Dyb said he appreciates Finger’s help in these investigations.

“Dennis has been very helpful with all that,” Dyb said. “He does a lot of the legwork for us because he knows much of the community.”

The board also discussed that the installation of security cameras is in its final stages. Soon, the administration will be trained with how the systems work, and the police department and Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office will have access to the cameras.

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