Southern Local Adding Safety Film to Buildings

School Safety

 Southern Local Adding Safety Film to Buildings


     SALINEVILLE-Southern Local School District is stepping up security measures by adding a protective window film to its buildings.


     The district has contracted with Illinois-based MGT Films to add ballistic window film to the high school and elementary wings in an estimated $29,554 project and work will commence during the upcoming Easter Break. The film tints the windows so outsiders are unable to peer into the buildings.


   School Resource Officer Deputy Jeff Haugh said he collaborated with district Federal Programs Coordinator Kristy Sampson to order the items with recently garnered funding. Southern received a $200,000 Ohio K-12 School Safety Grant allocation—or $100,000 for each building—and the money will also be used for upgrade cameras and access mechanisms. Officials were reimbursed for equipment purchased between Jan. 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2023, while more items were being procured and all of the work must be completed by September of 2024. 


   Deputy Haugh completed a safety needs assessment with assistance from Advanced Training Group Worldwide (ATG) of Lisbon which showed some areas in need of improvement, particularly with equipment and monitoring. He said the window film will be added between April 11-13.


   “It will be around the entire school-- on every exterior window and door, at the cafeteria, commons and breezeway,” he said. “It’s a ballistic window tint that slows down intrusion.”


   He added that he is collaborating with District Technology Coordinator Josh Manist to update cameras and add new anti-virus software for school and student computers. Southern has also acquired updated hand-held radios, windshield dashcams for school buses, metal detector wands, Tattletale security pagers and additional scanners for badges at the school entrances plus portable road barriers and weather stations.


   “The weather stations create a weather point for the National Weather Service and people can dial into Southern Local,” Deputy Haugh continued. “Cleveland and Pittsburgh can also dial in.”


    Leaders said the ballistic window film is just another way to ensure the schools’ faculty, staff and estimated 745 PreK-12 students can work in a more secure environment.


   Meanwhile, district is seeking additional funds to add radios which connect directly to the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Haugh said school and CCSO leaders were collaborating on a grant which would outfit both sites with systems that allow them to have direct communication during an incident. School staff and the Utica Shale Academy would have the capability to notify first responders in the event of an active intrusion.


   “The sheriff will provide dispatchers to train the staff on the proper use of the radios,” he commented.


    Superintendent Tom Cunningham said the window film and radios would be an added means of protection.


   “It will be at all entrances and exits as well as in larger population areas such as the cafeteria, and this is all being funded through our safety grant,” he noted. “The other grant would allow us the opportunity to have direct communication with the sheriff’s office and would cut any response and communication time.”