The last time Clearview updated its school emergency preparedness plan was over 13 years ago, stated Associate Superintendent Peter Neale at the May 26 Clearview School Board meeting.
Given the recent fire in Fort McMurray and the focus on emergency preparedness at the municipal level, Neale stressed the need for the board to revisit the 2003 plan.
“A lot of our schools don’t know where their plan is,” stated Neale, emphasizing that not only is safety of students and staff paramount, but the district’s liability is also a factor.
“If you’re coming up with a plan while you’re experiencing it [an emergency], you may make the wrong plan and someone could get hurt.”
Neale presented an option to the board to have an outside company revise Clearview’s plan.
Hour-Zero Crisis Consulting offers planning and training specific to K to 12 schools and the initial $20,000 cost plus $10,000 yearly maintenance fits into Clearview’s $60,000 safety budget, explained Neale.
“We don’t have the staff internally to do this,” said Neale.
Trustee Yvette Cassidy cautioned that if Clearview wants to design a plan, it should try to share resources with the town and county first to avoid duplicating services. Clearview was not included in a recent tabletop mock emergency exercise held at the Stettler County office.
Talk about it
Reducing the stigma around mental health issues is one goal for Clearview’s Clinical Director Don Porter, who reviewed data, trends and goals with the board from the Family School Liason (FSL) and Children and Adolescents being Resilient and Self-Regulating (CARS) programs.
“We need more discussion around mental health,” stated Porter, “It’s been kept in the closet.”
Data for the last quarter showed 244 individuals used the programs. Issues ranged from peer relations to financial stress. Family conflict, likely related to the economy, showed a definite rise in numbers.
Trustee John Schofer questioned if the rise in mental health issues for students wasn’t partly caused by “keeping kids in a bubble” resulting in anxiety and stress when they come face to face with the real world.
Porter acknowledged that could be a factor but stated FSL/CARS goals are to strengthen resiliency in kids.
Safety trumps cost
Parents whose children are picked up by bus on Highways 12, 36 and 56 will not have to pay a yard service fee next school year. The board made the decision based on safety issues of buses making stops on busy highways. All other yard service fees will remain unchanged from this year.
Looking for tax break
The Alberta government’s new carbon tax will cost Clearview just under $90,000 annually once the tax is implemented next year. The board voted to send a letter to the government requesting an exemption from the tax.