Valley High School educators Kristi Earley and Janet Moore, along with Principal J.C. Kimble, met with the Wetzel County Commission on Tuesday, April 4 to discuss Valley High School's West Virginia Justice Assistant Grant Program application. This grant, along with matching funds from the Wetzel County Commission and Wetzel County Board of Education, will allow VHS to continue to implement Wetzel County Sheriff's Office Deputy Donald Bordenkircher as a Prevention Resource Officer. Notably, VHS, the Wetzel County Commission, and the Wetzel County Board of Education have worked together for nine years to make sure VHS has a PRO in the school.
Bordenkircher also serves Short Line School.
The amount requested, via the grant, is $28,000. The board and commission each provide $15,948 in matching funds.
VHS educator, Kristi Earley, spoke to the commission at the April 4 meeting regarding the various ways Bordenkircher serves VHS. She noted that the parnership with Bordenkircher, and the sheriff's office, allowed students to take part in the active-shooter ALICE training. Also, VHS' senior girls were RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) trained, thanks to the partnership with the PRO and sheriff's office. Earley noted that all senior girls in the county are expected to receive RAD training.
Earley said VHS' first objective, of 2016-2017, was to increase knowledge of safety, emergency and evacuation procedures of faculty and students. She said the school had met that goal by conducting training sessions with student, staff, and the community. She said the school conducted monthly fire drills, training for tornado drills, and first response/evacuation drills for shooter scenarios.
Earley said VHS' second objective was to reduce discipline referrals by 20 percent or greater with the presence of a PRO. She said this goal was met.
Through Valley's grant application, it was noted that students look to the PRO as a role model, and that Bordenkircher works with students on character development, respect to peers and elders, truancy issues, and discipline. "He helps empower students to be successful both in and out of school."
Also, Bordenkircher "provides a source of protection against violence and emergencies, educates (students) in self-defense, and acts as a role model for students who are more susceptible to poverty and crime.... We see his continued presence as essential to maintaining our safety and improving the community and police relations."
Earley reported that Bordenkircher has helped with internet and texting safety trainings, and he has conducted some programs with the driver's education courses. Bordenkircher also assists, and serves as a chaperone, during with Valley Sportsman's Club annual trip to the mountains of West Virginia.
Principal Kimble noted, of Bordenkircher, that it is "nice to have backing." Kimble said Bordenkircher has also started a weightlifting program with students. Bordenkircher also painted the school's weight room.
The commission approved of the request to fulfill half of the matching funds required. Commission Vice President Bob Gorby noted that the PRO program is "a great program overall."