By Donna
Opelika Observer

Steve Carson, director of alternative education and student services, presented the Opelika City Schools’ suicide prevention plan at Tuesday’s board of education meeting.
Carson said the school system works very closely with Lee County Mental Health. “Mental health officials are very responsive to our calls and help us assess situations. They are contacted if a child is in crisis. Hot line numbers are also available,” he said.
Training sessions are being planned for administrators and counselors, with mental health officials doing the training. “We need an established suicide prevention protocol so we will know what to do if a child is in crisis. Counselors will use this protocol as a guide.” Carson explained.
The student code of conduct, given to every student, will include telephone numbers for suicide help, along with a crisis incident report form.
Board members received drafts of the sex offender policy, a revised anti-harassment policy, and a data use and governance policy for their consideration. Copies of these drafts will be sent to the Opelika Education Association for review before a final vote at the next board of education meeting.
The board approved a bid of $21,543.18 from Mobile Fixture & Equipment for two grease exhaust canopy hoods for the new culinary program added this year.
The board approved $10,765 to renew its membership in the Alabama Association of School Boards. According to Dr. Mark Neighbors, superintendent, the amount is based on transportation and operating costs. Renewal is recommended since all school systems in Alabama hold membership in this organization.
Dr. Brenda Rickett, assistant superintendent of curriculum, presented the annual strategic report on the Strategic Plan that was adopted last year. “Our goal is to educate every child every day,” Rickett said.
One of the Strategic Plan’s “Points of Pride” showed that the Class of 2015 was offered 3.4 million dollars in scholarships.  “This is a credit to our counselors and our students,” Rickett said.
The board approved personnel recommendations which included employment, resignations, transfers, and retirements. Neighbors said that the system had a record number of 53 new hires for the upcoming school year.