Timely reporting, cooperation and better communication.
That's what the Huron County Sheriff's Office and Western Reserve Local Schools say is necessary in their working relationship as they strive to protect students the best they can. School officials are encouraging concerned parents to attend board meetings and give them feedback on what the school can do better.
Superintendent Rodge Wilson said board policies and administrative guidelines are in line, but what's needed is a "just a shift in paradigm" in reporting possible crimes to authorities. The school board held a special meeting Monday to discuss student discipline-related policies.
Wilson, who had a recent meeting with Sheriff Dane Howard, said he was told if Western reports an incident to the sheriff's office, that means the school is requesting deputies take over the investigation -- but it doesn't mean there can't be mutual probes. The superintendent used the example of Huron County Children Services assisting police with conducting interviews of juveniles.
"We had a great conversation about shared time and shared interviewing," added Wilson, who said both parties shared what they are required to do with their respective investigations.
"I think one of the issues we resolved was communication," he said.
Howard told the Reflector that Thursday's meeting with Western officials was "very positive." Howard, Chief Deputy Ted Patrick and Sgt. Tod Wagner met with Wilson, Western High School Principal Lisa Border, assistant principal Chris Sheldon, elementary principal Melanie Conaway and school board member Jami White.
"They were very receptive with what we had to say," the sheriff said. "I believe we are all on the same page. ... Everybody at the table had the same thing in mind -- the safety of the children."
Howard gave credit to Western officials for responding promptly to his request for the meeting and for using part of their Christmas break to do so.
See the complete story in Tuesday's Norwalk Reflector.