What would an elementary student mean if they went home and told their parents, “We had a stay put today?”
It might bring to mind an active shooter incident, but it could also have been something as basic as keeping students in classrooms because a student was sick in a hallway.
“Right now, our parents don’t know that,” Superintendent Jeffrey Szymaniak told the School Committee on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
The School Committee received a draft proposal for an elementary-level safety presentation being developed by Whitman School Resource Officer Kevin Harrington.
The work followed a symposium Harrington and Szymaniak recently attended at Stonehill College.
“I asked him to put something together for our elementary kids,” Szymaniak said of the draft currently being reviewed by school principals. “Kevin was looking at this through the lens of a school resource officer and DARE officer and I wanted some input from school principals to make sure it was adequate for our preK to [grade] five students.”
Szymaniak plans to make a formal presentation to the committee at its December meeting and at a parent night he will conduct with Harrington and Hanson Resource Officer William Frazier before it is implemented in January or February.
“Parents want to know what is being talked about with students for safety and security,” he said. “The other piece is our common language — of lockdown, stay put, shelter in place — so that everybody in the district knows common language.”
School Committee Chairman Bob Hayes said he has heard different parents tell their children to do different things. One would instruct their child to run if an emergency cropped up in school, while another would tell their child to listen to their teachers.
“I think it’s fantastic for children to be on the same page as each other, their teacher and their parents,” Committee member Fred Small said. “I would think it would be a wonderful thing to have not one parents’ night, but to put the parents through the actual training that their child was going to be receiving.”
The committee approved, 7-1, Hanson Town Administrator Michael McCue’s request to move forward with the process of placing a cell tower on Hanson Middle School property. Member Christopher Scriven voted no and members Robert Trotta and Steven Bois were absent.
Hanson voters at Town Meeting have already approved a zoning bylaw change to permit cell tower development on public property and town officials have identified a wooded area at the northeast corner of the HMS property as a prime location for a cell tower.
The project more than likely must go back before the Hanson ZBA for variance because it is within 50 feet of an abutter and the Conservation Commission because of nearby wetlands.
Project Manager Sean Mahoney of SAI Communications LLC also attended the Nov. 14 meeting to brief School Committee members on the proposal. Three competitive bids had been received and SAI was deemed to be most advantageous to Hanson, with the potential to bring in about $270,000 in pad lease revenues over the first 10 years, plus about $75,000 in the 25-percent contribution per unit on the tower.
After 10 years, that comes to about $350,000.
“This particular project isn’t solely about revenues, it’s about safety, it’s about communication,” McCue said, citing storms last March that made it difficult for families to reach their loved ones in town because landlines were down and the town continues to have large cell service dead zones. Fire and police communication units would also be hosted on the tower at no cost and the tower’s signal range is planned to be from 2.5 to 3 miles in order to close gaps with other cell service.
Turning blue for the red and black
Several School Committee members, and district administrators, have already signed up to be “Freezin’ for a Reason” on Sunday, Jan. 27 as they take part in the inaugural Hanson PTO Polar Plunge at Cranberry Cove in Hanson. The inclement weather date is Sunday, Feb. 3.
Superintendent Jeffrey Szymaniak, Assistant Superintendent George Ferro and WHRHS Principal Dr. Christopher Jones have agreed to take the fundraising plunge as have School Committee Hayes and Hanson members Mike Jones and Christopher Howard. Member Robert O’Brien Jr., as Hanson’s deputy fire chief, will be working the event to ensure there is a hole in the ice in which to plunge, as well as for safety.
Prior registration for plunge participation is $30 with each participant asked to raise a minimum of $35 in pledges. Hayes also pledged to treat whoever raises the most money to dinner, including their spouse and children, to a “Johnny Macaroni-type” restaurant.
All those signing up must sign a waiver in order to participate.
Volunteers are also needed to coordinate on the day of the plunge for those a bit leery of jumping into the water in midwinter.