State awards Highland Schools $500K safety grant

The Highland Local School District is one of 945 school districts throughout the state that has been awarded a $500,000 safety grant that will be used to enhance physical security measures in all five of its school buildings.

“The Highland Local School District appreciates that the state of Ohio remains committed to school safety initiatives by providing districts with valuable grant dollars that make additional safety and security improvements possible,” stated Superintendent Catherine Aukerman. “Our goal has been to implement a layered and tiered approach to the safety and security of our school buildings, and these additional funds will allow us to further enhance our efforts.”

Aukerman said Highland’s five school buildings will be allocated $100,000 that will be utilized to make investments in proven security practices and upgrades specific to K-12 environments. She said the district will continue to make informed decisions on security investments in partnership with the Medina County Sheriff’s Office and the Hinckley Police Department.

In 2022, Highland completed a comprehensive school safety and security vulnerability assessment with both law enforcement agencies. Through the assessment process, target areas were identified for additional protections.

Aukerman said the grant dollars will be “instrumental in helping to address the suggested additional protections, which include areas such as physical access controls, perimeter security, video surveillance, emergency communication, threat detection, and lighting.”

The Highland Local School District has made continuous upgrades to all five school buildings to enhance security. Investments have also been made in staff trainings under the Safety and Violence Education Students Act which provided school security and youth suicide and violence awareness training. Full-time law enforcement officers are present at the three elementary schools, middle school and high school. ∞