During their Thursday night meeting, the Malden School Board adopted safety recommendations presented by a safety committee which was formed during last months assembly.
"I would think if there is one thing that would make the public feel safer, an armed guard would be it," stated Board of Education President Dave Green during discussions concerning safety recommendations.
A secondary, armed, School Resource Officer (SRO), which will be an off duty officer, was approved for the remainder of the current school year. This officer will be in place in addition to the current SRO, Srgt. Scott Wilson.
During discussion, it was noted that because the additional SRO will be a member of the local police force, it should benefit both the officers and students allowing the officers to become more familiar with the campus and the students to become more familiar and comfortable with the officers.
Funds for the officer's pay would be taken from the General Fund and is estimated to be around $10,000.
"I know $10,000 is alot of money," stated Board member Carolyn Cornman, "but still, you are talking about the safety of our kids."
Superintendent Ken Cook explained that because of the positive working and learning environment the school maintains, he does not want that to be undone.
"Let's try to protect the perimeter of our buildings so that we don't affect the climate inside our buildings," he stated.
In that same spirit, a motion was approved to install 2 security buzzer entries for the doors on preschool and alternative school. Funds for this project will be taken from monies made available through the recently approved bond issue.
Cook also explained that previously scheduled training sessions would be occurring in February. Both an active shooter training for local law enforcement as well as intruder training for school staff will occur.
A plan was developed to enclose certain portions of the school facilities that are currently open and to construct a crosswalk on the corner of Stevenson and Burkhart Streets.
In other business, the Board approved a motion to move forward with the Pepsi contract concerning an electric sign. Green reintroduced old business concerning the sign stating that he would like the Board to reconsider last months decision to have the school only use the sign and the City of Malden would need to have their own sign. Green explained that after extensive discussion with Malden Mayor Ray Santie, he believed the sign could be used to benefit both entities. Santie has collected commitments from the Malden City Council and the Board of Public Works in the amount of $20,000 toward the sign, along with free electric and a generator for operation in case of emergency. The school would still own and manage the sign. A motion was approved by the Board for Cook and Santie to negotiate a 1 page contract between the City and school for a partnership for the sign. He also expressed gratitude to the BPW and City Council for their agreement to do this.
A letter was also read from a Malden Alumni living in Kentucky. 92 year old Ralph Miller detailed memories of his time at Malden as well as time spent as a West Point instructor. A monetary donation was also made by Miller.
The February session of the Malden Board of Education was moved to Thursday, Feb. 21.
The Board went into closed session for the remainder of the meeting.