DPS passes firearm resolution, makes SMART hires

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution addressing the open carrying of firearms on school property, authorized hires for its SMART Bond and heard about website redesign during a busy meeting Dec. 9.

The resolution is something that was discussed at the last few board meetings and addresses state law that prohibits the open carrying of firearms in banks, places of worship, courts, theatres, sports arenas, day care centers, hospitals and bars, but not in public schools.

The resolution asks state legislators to add public schools to the list of prohibited areas and will be sent to Gov. Rick Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and state Reps. George Darany (D-15th District) and David Knezek (D-11th District), as well as other state lawmakers.

The board also authorized the district to make two hires relating to the $76 million SMART Bond that was passed during the Nov. 5 general election.

The bond will address district needs in the areas of security, modifications, additions, renovations technology and transportation.

TMP and SHW Group will be hired by the district for architectural services while Clark Construction will be hired to handle construction management.

The groups will plan and perform the first major construction at DPS buildings since the district’s last bond proposal in 2002.

Three architectural and six construction management firms were contacted by the district and the recommendations were made by a committee of eight who reviewed the evaluations, presentations, references and other factors before making their selections.

Board Trustee Joseph Guido, who was part of the selection committee, said the selection process was difficult because all the candidates were well qualified.

“In my opinion, it could have been any of the groups that we interviewed,” Guido. “In the end, I think we made good choices.”

Construction is expected to begin in the spring after the district goes out for the bonds in January and February. All of the repairs, renovations and additions are expected to be completed in 2.5 years.

The topic of website redesign was introduced by Technology and Media Coordinator Troy Patterson, who said the new website will not be “completely different” but that there will be some substantial differences.

“When we designed our website six years ago, most people used a desktop computer to access the web,” Patterson said. “Now, an awful lot of people are using cell phones and tablets to use the site and these tools have smaller screen sizes. The new site will respond to this and the main menu changes when the viewing is reduced in size, making browsing easier.”

He said the district is performing more services for parents and students through
the website and that it should be made easier for new items to be located by users.

“We want it to be cleaner and to have better organization,” Patterson said. “We have so much information that we need to provide to parents that some material can get buried.”

No date was given for a changeover to the new website.

Also announced at the meeting were details outlining the district’s new contest for its Response to Bullying program.

This year’s competition will be a video contest where students and staff are asked to make creative videos that show how the district’s core values of citizenship, responsibility, courtesy and honesty relate to the program.

There are five contest groups of grades K to 2, 3 to 5, 6 to 8, 9 to 12 and staff, and the videos must be between 30 seconds and 3 minutes in length.

Communications Coordinator David Mustonen said the district is looking forward to watching the videos.

“This is a great opportunity for students and staff to work on creating a video that will deliver a positive message, reinforce the good work being done in the district and could even save a life,” Mustonen said.

All videos must be submitted by Feb. 14.

The Response to Bullying program was started in 2011 to identify, address and prevent bullying in the district’s schools.

As part of the program, all staff having any contact with students are required to participate in annual anti-bullying professional development courses, schools hold three annual assemblies addressing bullying and students are encouraged to report any bullying behavior they see or hear about.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)

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