The Hays school board Monday tabled revisions to its administrative handbook so that revisions could be made to district’s policy on notification of the public in the event of a crisis.
Minor changes to correct outdated language were up for approval at Monday’s meeting, but board member Greg Schwartz said he would prefer to table the handbook until a written policy could be added to address notification of the public in the case of a school threat.
A student at Hays High School was taken into custody in February after allegedly making a threat against the high school. The student was removed from school on a Monday, but the public was not informed until five days later.
“We talked a couple of meetings ago about changes after what happened at Hays High,” Schwartz said. “One of the things that was brought to my attention is how do people know that we have actually learned anything based on that.”
He said this is not the first incident at the high school. Years ago the HHS had a similar incident with “bad information,” Schwartz said.
“If you’re here, we’re probably all right, but what happens if you leave?” Schwartz said to Thissen. “Where’s the policy? The only way you are going to be able to ensure things are going to happen in the future is to have a policy on it that says here is how we are going to handle it in the future.”
Superintendent John Thissen said the district is continuing to address its crisis plan, and he did not think the handbook vote needed to be delayed. He said district officials will be meeting with fire and law enforcement officials today, and the district’s crisis team will be meeting later this month.
Thissen said, “I think what happened at the high school was more a judgment on my part of crisis or no crisis. Then because of the tragedy in the middle of the week in Florida, it was a perceived crisis. … I think what is in place is solid, Greg. We are working to put more planning [in place] and refining how we end up moving on any of these matters.”
Schwartz moved to table the handbook until the board’s March 26 meeting. The motion passed 6-1 with board member Paul Adams voting against the motion.
In other business, the board approved building level administrative contracts. Lincoln Principal Elaine Rohleder and Hays Middle School Principal Craig Pallister have announced their retirements.
The board also approved a bid of $96,900 from Brian’s Concrete Services for concrete for the Hays High School parking lot.