School, Niles Police promote school safety

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Michigan's School Safety Week 2003 came to and end on Friday.
Locally, Niles Community Schools, in cooperation with the Niles City Police Department, used the week as an opportunity to put an extra focus on several school-safety related issues.
School and police, however, cooperate several times a year to inform students on how to stay safe both at school and while out in the community.
Part of safety week here also included practicing complete school lock-downs and reminding students and teachers what to do if there is an intruder or person intending harm within the schools.
Kevin Kosten, the city police's school liaison officer, talked to students at Ring Lardner Middle School on Friday morning.
With regards to school lock-downs, Kosten said it's important students and teachers understand what to do if a situation occurs.
He explained to the students how they should barricade doors, keep away from windows, blind the windows and remain silent.
But Kosten didn't just talk about lock-downs, which are extremely rare occurrences.
He also talked to the students about bus safety, pedestrian traffic to and from school and about the importance of students reporting crime, both when they are at school and out in the community.
Spending a lot of time around students gives the city police officer an opportunity to stay informed about what goes on during school and at school-related activities, such as football and basketball games.
His knowledge caused him to put an extra focus on violence prevention, as fights between students sometimes break out both at schools and during games.
Kosten told the students it's their "duty" to prevent violence from happening.
He also said efficient violence prevention will get rid of other violence-related actions, such as bullying.
Most students, however, go through junior and high school without being in a fight Kosten, said.
Following Kosten, Doug Langmeyer, Ring Lardner's assistant principal, shared some of his safety concerns and observations with the students.
Langmeyer talked to the students about hallway behavior, which can be a problem at schools.
He said what some may take as innocent, playful and harmless behavior, others might experience as bullying.
Langmeyer said school safety issues are usually addressed every marking period.
He believes in the school setting clear expectations of how it wishes students should behave at school.

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