Plans in place to keep kids safe at school

“We are on the forefront with the (Warren County) school district, with the fire departments, with the police departments to protect our kids in the schools.”

That’s the message Warren County Public Safety Director Todd Lake brought to the Council of Governments last Wednesday, providing an update on the planning process.

Without being too descriptive, Lake explained that his office is “working with some things to make sure things are safer.”

He said the Warren County School District “won’t change their philosophy” on safety. “(Former Superintendent) Brandon (Hufnagel) had a very good philosophy. We are making sure we have things in place. We can help if there are needs.”

Part of the planning process has been determining where help would come from if an incident occurred at any of the schools. For example, “If I need to get 10 ambulances at Youngsville, where are they coming from? We made a list of all of those,” Lake said.

“There’s issues with this,” he added. Lake explained that Columbus Elementary School, which is still in Warren County but not part of the WCSD, is “one that will be most of the challenge.” He said that if extensive emergency services needed to respond to Columbus, collaboration among four 911 centers Erie, Crawford, Warren and Chautauqua counties would be required.

“That’s one of the things that we’re really planning,” Lake said. “It’s nice that we only have to deal generally with one school district.” For example, other counties can have as many as eight separate districts. “Our only little quirk is Columbus because it is Corry School District but is in Warren County, so it is our responsibility.”

Looking at the other schools in Warren County Tidioute Community Charter School, St. Joseph Elementary School, Calvary Chapel and Warren County Christian School Lake said, “We’ve got a good relationship with them.”

He explained that some people tell him that the schools are not protecting their kids.

“They are,” Lake said. “We’re worried about them.”