Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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Schools, Fedor working to back military families

Toledo school board members and a state senator are working to support the people and families of those who choose to serve in the military reserves and national guard.

Steven Steel, president of the Toledo Board of Education, said he will ask his board when it meets next week to sign a "Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve" from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The statement is for employers to demonstrate they recognize the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and support employees who serve the country.

"They shouldn't be worrying about these things back home, about their job here, when they are on deployment," Mr. Steel said.

He also is proposing the district put a formal policy in place to support the employees. Fellow school board member Lisa Sobecki, who served in the Navy, also was at the press conference and agreed to take that up at the policy commit-tee that she is on.

Mr. Steel announced his plans yesterday before Waite High School's annual Memorial Day event.

State Sen. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo) also took the opportunity to talk about a bill she sponsored in the Senate that addresses education of military members' children.

The legislation would make the transition easier for students who transfer between schools, districts, or even states in some cases when a parent is called to active duty.

"That will relieve the military members' mind as they are over there serving," she said.

And the children already have enough anxiety switching to a new school and having a parent away, that there shouldn't be added concern of having to retake a course, Ms. Fedor said.

And Ms. Fedor, who served in the Air Force, commended the school board members on their plans, which also include help for students.

Mr. Steel said he'd like to see if the district could find some way of identifying students with immediate family members in the service so they can offer them services in difficult times.

Stress could lead to students acting out or withdrawing, and if the school can identify that the behavior is in response to a parent or sibling being called to active duty, they can provide services to help the student.

The inspiration behind these plans was a visit Mr. Steel and other members of the Ohio School Boards Association had to a military base outside Columbus recently.

He coordinated a similar visit for Toledo Public Schools officials to the 180th Fighter Wing at Toledo Express Airport planned for next week.

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