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Bus accident response draws praise

WEDOWEE – At last Thursday’s meeting of Randolph County Board of Education, Superintendent John Jacobs gave the board an update on the recent school bus accident.

“To start with, I want to thank God for being with those kids because it could have been a serious, serious situation,” Jacobs said. “I would like to recognize a number of people that responded to the accident scene and helped out in some way, shape, form or fashion and the list is kind of long. These include Wadley Police, Wadley Fire Department, Corinth Fire Department, Abanda Fire Department, Dickert Fire Department, State Troopers, Wedowee Police, Southern Ambulance, Emergency Medical Transport, LaFayette Fire and Rescue, Randolph Emergency Management, Clay County Rescue Squad, Randolph County Sheriff’s Department, marine police, some employees from Transco and nursing students from Southern Union.”

He commended Tanner-East Alabama for the fantastic way they handled the situation. “I think the emergency drills we have made things go really, really well. I want to thank the staff at the vocational school for being at the hospital and talking with parents and being able to know who the kids were.”

Jacobs went on to say the last student left Tanner around 10:30 the night of the accident, but one student was transferred to Birmingham. “The accident was on one of the new buses and was equipped with five cameras that all worked and a GPS that records location and speed, but I am not going to comment any further until ALEA (Troopers) complete their investigation into the accident. The cameras ran some 18 minutes after the accident and to see what happened inside that bus.”

Jacobs closed by commending some of the students for helping out and staying with students that were injured. “Our plan worked, but we’ll look at what improvements we need to make.”

Vape detectors

Superintendent Jacobs told the board vaping has become a real problem around the state and here in the county. He said, “It’s become a real problem with all ages of our kids. It is just such a problem that an age limit of 21 has been established as a law to purchase or possess, and it’s becoming as serious as alcohol.”

He went on to say that to help with the problem, vape detectors had been purchased and installed in the schools. “They are hidden and cannot be seen around the school, and nobody knows what they look like.” When a detector goes off, it sends a text message to administration and teachers so they can go to that location and see what’s going on.

“We spent several thousand dollars on these, and I hope it is a deterrent. If students are caught, it’s a trip to the alternative school because we see it as the same level offense as alcohol because of the age requirement.”

Superintendent’s report

John Jacobs gave the following report to the board:

Ernestine Fincher, librarian at Woodland Elementary School, won a national book bonanza contest and will be awarded $6,300 in new library books.

Work is nearing completion on the old Randolph County High School gymnasium.

Door and window replacement at Wadley High School, Woodland and RCHS will begin in a couple of weeks. Work will begin at Wadley first.

Pre-bids were accepted for HVAC replacement at Wadley this week. Materials are 10-12 weeks out. Pre-bids for Rock Mills Junior High School and Woodland will be done the week after spring break. Work at Wedowee Middle School should begin soon.

In personnel actions, the board approved the following (Board member Jimmy McCain abstained):

  • Noelle McCain as assistant principal at Woodland High School, effective July 1.
  • Resignation of Parrish T. Zachery, paraprofessional at Wadley, effective March 31.
  • Resignation due to retirement of Harriet Jacobs, counselor at Woodland High, effective June 1.
  • Resignation due to retirement of Sharon Easter, paraprofessional at Woodland High, effective at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Resignation of Blair Armstrong, teacher at Woodland High, effective May 26.
  • Resignation of Jason Armstrong, teacher at Woodland High, effective with the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Resignation of Marissa Moore, bus driver for RCHS, effective with the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Heather Cox as substitute bus driver.
  • Hope Howard and Nicol Rollins as substitute teachers.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved teachers for the Summer Reading Program at $300 per day.
  • Approved support personnel for the Summer Reading Program at $125 per day.
  • Approved bus drivers for the Summer Reading Program at $75 per day.
  • Approved summer school teachers at $160 per day.
  • Approved support personnel for summer school at $70 per day.
  • Approved to declare 70 computer towers, laptops and printers as surplus.
  • pproved renewing the line of credit at First Bank of Alabama for an additional 12-month term.

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