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Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Unsupervised students use of school's weight room needs to stop

By Margie Wuebker
MINSTER - Athletic Director Rob Vajda told Minster Local Schools board of education members Tuesday night he has concerns about use of the school weight room without the supervision of trained adults.
"I want to be proactive in bringing this to the forefront," Vajda said. "I don't want to see injuries or accidents occur."
Football coach Eric Belcher is present from 5:30 to 7 a.m. to supervise students using free weights as part of their athletic training while assistant coach Craig Wenning comes in after school for several hours.
Both Vajda and maintenance and facilities supervisor Tim Jay noted there are numerous keys to the building floating around the community.
Jay said the keys were made and passed around after the previous used card system failed. He has been summoned to the weight room after local police found individuals lifting weights late at night. Reports of open doors and/or lights left burning also necessitated trips to correct the oversights.
"Fortunately, vandalism has not been an issue," Jay added. "But I am concerned about the lack of supervision and young people working out alone. We need to get a rein on this."
Superintendent Gayl Ray agreed, pointing out no other school district in Auglaize County has such an open policy.
Jay admitted changing locks could help and suggested coaches receive warnings about handing out keys to students or community residents or face some sort of penalty.
The school officials also noted the weight room, located in a freestanding building adjacent to the football field, was built long before the coming of the Auglaize-Mercer County Family YMCA, where people now could work out.
Other proposals aimed at reducing liability and lessening the likelihood of injuries include posting rules and limiting hours to those times when trained supervisors are present.
Vadja shared a letter from Bryan Niemeyer, vice president of the Minster Athletic Boosters and a Sidney attorney, noting school districts have sovereign immunity from lawsuits.
Board President Jeff Monnin said, "it really comes down to kids not getting hurt" before appointing Jay, Vadja and Hoelscher to serve on a committee with him and make recommendations to the board.
In other action, the board:
• Accepted the resignation of teacher Victoria Schwartz due to retirement effective June 1 and employed Michael Wiss as recreation field manager and Jan Frericks as groundskeeper.
• Received an update on a countywide principals roundtable discussion regarding full-day kindergarten. Waynesville is starting a full-day program next year while New Knoxville is considering the same possibility. New Bremen is continuing a half-day program hoping to maintain four sections with small class size. Minster also offers half-day kindergarten.
• Learned the district will be going to a Remote Deposit Capture, which allows Treasurer Laura Klosterman to deposit checks without leaving her office. The procedure will be followed at the high school before a decision is made regarding implementation at the elementary and middle school buildings. There is a $30 lease fee per scanner.
• Acknowledged a $100 matching fund grant from The Dannon Co. and a $200 donation from the Minster American Legion Auxiliary for the purchase of inside recess equipment.
• Set April 21 as the date for the next session. The 8 p.m. session will be held in the high school conference room.
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Additional online stories on this date
Nicholas Schwieterman, the 22-year-old Chickasaw man charged in connection with the deaths of four area men, appeared in Celina Municipal Court on Monday afternoon to face four counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and two counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. [More]
About a dozen chickens took a chance on freedom Monday morning after the truck they were riding in overturned on Interstate 75 near Wapakoneta.
The driver did not claim injury. [More]
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