Hayden district gets school safety grant for CU technical assistance

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— Keeping Hayden schools safe and violence free that is the goal of a Safe Schools Grant that the Hayden School District was recently awarded.

Hayden was one of 20 school districts in Colorado chosen to receive assistance.

"This Safe Schools Program is a research-based program, and one in which community input is extremely valuable," school district Health Services Coordinator Mari Mahanna said. "Because we already have a community input program in place Community Action Network (CAN) I think we had an advantage. Hayden has always had a great deal of valuable community input."

The Safe Schools Program is conducted by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

"We have not been given actual money," Mahanna said. "Rather, we have been given two-and-a-half years of technical assistance out of the University of Colorado. Next week, Hayden Police Officer Gordon Booco and myself are going to be trained in Boulder. We will learn to deal with schools physical safety, as well as the school's atmosphere do kids feel safe at school?"

Mahanna and Booco will be in Boulder Tuesday through Thursday.

The Safe Schools Grant will not only provide training for Mahanna and Booco, it will also help develop a needs assessment for the Hayden schools.

Representatives and experts on safety from the university will then take on the role of a school support committee to provide insight and advice about Hayden's greatest safety issues, Mahanna said.

Booco was recently named the school liaison officer, and has developed a pretty friendly relationship with students, he said.

"Although I don't know exactly what we'll be learning about, I know it has to do with violence in the schools. This is something that interests me," he said.

Researching safety and violence-prevention in schools has become a particularly important issue in the wake of recent violent occurrences in schools nationwide, Mahanna said.

"This is a very valuable opportunity," she said. "Hayden is right on Highway 40. We are not as isolated as we might think we are. We've got a real big recreational town with lots of money very close by."

For Hayden residents interested in helping the community with its safe schools initiative or the Community Action Network, contact Mahanna at the high school at 276-3761.

CAN is an group put together to "promote healthy lifestyles and activities in Hayden." Its members include teachers, community members, parents, and students from sixth grade through high school. CAN needs working parents to attend meetings once a month from noon to 3:30 p.m.

To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail bnadzam@amigo.net

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