District processes for outdoor school venues varies

CINCINNATI – Less than a week after a bleacher rail collapsed at a Sycamore High School football game, area administrators are discussing how districts ensure safety at outdoor venues.

Forest Hills Schools Superintendent Dallas Jackson said that after Friday's accident the other schools in his district had a conversation concerning outdoor sporting venues.

Jackson confirmed inspections were complete at each school.

As far as other districts in Ohio are concerned though, that picture of safety inspections varies. For example, Cincinnati Public Schools have two inspections of outdoor facilities per year.

When asked about laws governing safety at outdoor facilities, John Charlton, associate director for media relations for the Ohio's education department, pointed to Ohio statute 33.13.86 which addresses health and safety reviews at schools.

That law states: “The board of education of each city, exempted village, local, and joint vocational school district and the governing authority of each chartered nonpublic school periodically shall review its policies and procedures to ensure the safety of students, employees, and other persons using a school building from any known hazards in the building or on building grounds that, in the judgment of the board or governing authority, pose an immediate risk to health or safety. The board or governing authority shall further ensure that its policies and procedures comply with all federal laws and regulations regarding health and safety applicable to school buildings.”

As far as how that review is handled it is up to each school district.

Last Friday at Sycamore High School, several students were leaning against bleacher railing just prior to when it collapsed. Three people were transported to Bethesda North Hospital for minor injuries as a result of the incident.

On Tuesday, Sycamore School District said they had an inspection of their bleachers Nov. 15 of last year. As a result of last week's incident, officials have scheduled another inspection to take place in the near future.

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