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Student health issues discussed at Highland meeting

4/18/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Scott Kriska

Two guest speakers brought student health and wellness to the forefront at a Highland Local Schools Board of Education meeting April 15.

One speaker discussed a new form of transportation for injured students, while the other discussed a new law related to athletic injuries.

The first speaker was Lt. Michael George, president of the Sharon Township Firefighters Association (STFA). He discussed a proposal of new equipment to be used in case of emergencies involving students. George said a Med-Bed installed on a John Deere Gator utility vehicle can be used as a temporary form of emergency transportation prior to the arrival of an ambulance. The Med-Bed can be retrofitted to the district’s current Gator, he said.

According to George, the STFA, in association with the Hinckley Firefighters Association, Granger Township Firefighters Association and University Hospitals, raised money for this new equipment. He said the Med-Bed can be dropped off at the Granger Township Fire Department, where training on how to use it can be arranged. With the board’s approval, the district could have the Med-Bed in two to three weeks, he said.

While the board was in support of the new equipment, Superintendent Catherine Aukerman recommended the district purchase a second Gator to be used with the Med-Bed solely for medical purposes.

Also during the meeting, Dr. Sean Hoynes, of Sharon Family Physicians, spoke about a bill enforcing the responsibility of coaches and referees to monitor head injuries among student athletes. Hoynes said Ohio House Bill 143, which will take effect April 26, is intended to protect student athletes who might suffer from concussions. He said this bill, one of a series of laws implemented by the state to protect student athletes, lists requirements students must meet before returning to play after suffering head trauma. All coaches and referees will have to take a special online class to increase their level of knowledge to recognize concussions, he said.

Hoynes said the bill also will give coaches and referees the right to remove an injured student from play or practice for at least 24 hours. An injured student also would have to see a physician before he or she could return to play. If a student did suffer a concussion, he or she must go through an impact test before returning to play. He said parents and students will have to sign a form as part of this new law.

He also explained the district will use a Sideline Concussion Aptitude Test (SCAT) to verify a student’s ability to play following a head injury.

In other business:

  • The board approved Highland High School speech and debate team student John DiGiacobbe’s trip to Birmingham, Ala., for the National Speech and Debate Tournament. The trip is being paid for by the event’s participants and team donations. The board also approved a motion to authorize a $500 transfer from the General Fund to the speech and debate team’s account to fund a portion of the costs for the trip.
  • The board approved applications for the use of high school and middle school facilities for various activities.
  • The board approved a consent agenda consisting of three agreements: a community education agreement, an agreement between Lodi Hospital and the Medina County Educational Service Center to provide physicals for Highland bus and van drivers for next school year, and a one-year lawn care service agreement with Circle Lawn Care to help maintain school grounds.
  • The board approved a number of certified and classified contracts. The employment items in the contract are contingent on completion of criminal background checks and proper certification.

The next Highland Board of Education meeting is scheduled for May 20 at 7 p.m. in the media center of Highland High School, located at 4150 Ridge Road.

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