Members of FCRSEA met Monday, February 11, at Ozark Middle School in Altus. The focus of the meeting was school safety. Ozark Schools Resource Officer, Tim Culver, outlined the steps taken to address a myriad of threats that might come through the doors of a school, from irate parent to active shooter. Their goal is to maintain a safe environment for its students to learn and staff to carry out their mission of delivering quality education.

Improvements to school safety include: a) locked doors at entrances and classroom doors that can be locked from within, b) nametags for all staff, c) video systems for all schools that can be viewed throughout the various schools, d) hangtags for cars driven by students using student parking, e) fencing for all playgrounds, and f) the use of drills to simulate variety of threats. In a case of worse case scenario the school system has trained an Emergency Response Team to confront an extreme threat.

During the next part of the program we were introduced to a team of student leaders who were initially selected through an essay contest. Their leadership training utilized a book written by a former Navy Seal, Jocko Williams, The Way of the Warrior Kid. This impressive group said they learned that to be a good leader, they had to choose to ‘do the right thing’ and to show leadership. They have been able to tour college campuses and work with administrators to help with student activities. Due to heavy rain, we were happy to be met by these students, armed with umbrellas, and escorted to the building.

Mr. James Ford, Superintendent of Ozark Schools, along with his assistant, Lucas Skaggs, provided information concerning a legislative initiative to reduce the COLA for ARTS members. Members of our local association will be voicing our displeasure of House Bill 1206 and encourage other retired school employees to do the same. The Franklin County Retired School Employees Association number 43 members with only 28 also members of ARTA. It would help our initiative if each local member would also join the state organization. ARTA is considered the voice of the retirement system.

The next meeting will be held Monday, March 11, at 10:00 at the Charleston Professional Development/Board Room. The guest speaker will be Valarie Fitch, House Parent at Maggie House. Members are reminded to bring (1) $10 or (2) $5 Sonic gift cards to be given to the Maggie House children.

Jeff Stubblefield will give an ARTS update. Lunch will be provided by Charleston Schools.

Submitted by Gloria Jones