Thursday October 03, 2013
Over the past year, the South Burlington School Board has been involved in an appeal process to stop the HowardCenter from opening a methadone clinic at 364 Dorset Street. While the Board’s appeal to the environmental court remains in play, the clinic opened in a limited capacity on September 6. At each Board meeting since the topic first came to the attention of the Board, they have kept the subject on the agenda.
At the September 11 meeting, the first since the clinic opened to serve clients formerly served at Twin Oaks, Young said he had been taken on a tour of the facility by the Director. The methadone portion of the clinic is scheduled to be fully operational soon.
Parents in attendance had concerns about children traveling the Dorset Street corridor for after school activities as well as safety around the public library.
A number of safety procedures have already been put in place including thinning of the trees along the Dorset Street portion of Tuttle Middle School to allow for adequate viewing. Young said he has had a series of meetings with the District’s School Resource officers and administrators of facilities regarding possible issues as well.
Young also provided the Board with a draft safety letter that has since been sent to parents. The purpose of the letter was to ensure that students travel to and from school safely. Young included key protocols for parents to remind children to avoid talking to people they don’t know, not get into cars with people they don’t know well, and avoid walking or running alone at night. Also if a child is waiting to be picked up after school in the evening, waiting inside the school is recommended.
Martin LaLonde thought the letter was a good idea although most of what was referenced was “common sense.” LaLonde has been working with the form based codes committee to establish a school safety zone. He feels that establishing a safety zone around each school would be appropriate. A methadone clinic would be one of the uses that he would like to see prohibited within the zone.
The District will continue their update process on both the status of their appeal and school safety measures at each Board meeting.
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent