Wiscasset school committee candidate Jonathan Barnes

Thu, 05/23/2024 - 10:15am

    Occupation: Police Officer

    Education: Grace Baptist Academy, Maine Army National Guard, KVCC for EMT, Maine Criminal Justice Academy for Corrections and Law Enforcement, Crisis Intervention through NAMI, Civil Rights Officer

    Political History (Board, Committees, other): 


    Considering the office you are running for, what do you feel are the three most pressing issues (350 words or less): Safety: When I was hired as the SRO in 2022 the school safety plans were last update in 2008. I spent countless hours working with several groups to draft updated and current plans. These plans are designed to be reviewed and updated annually before being signed into effect by the Superintendent, Board Chair and SRO. I also worked tirelessly alongside many others to train staff in things like ALICE and CSTAG. CSTAG is recognized as a successful model at both the State and Federal level. It lets us identify at risk youth and offer them interventions to get them off the pathway to violence. ALICE trains staff, students and families in Active Threat Response so they can take part in keeping themselves safe in a life threatening situation. I also worked in collaboration to implement a new 3 phase camera system to include vape/smoke detection that would modernize the district. There have been numerous assaults and incidents of weapons and contrabands inside the District. Many times the involved parties have stated they intentionally pick areas without cameras.

    The new camera system, CSTAG, ALICE and safety plans are no longer used in the District under the new leadership. We need to do everything in our power to provide our children a safe but fun environment where they can learn. No child should come to school in fear for their personal safety or in fear of being exposed to contraband.

    Budgeting/Recruitment and Retention: The district should be accountable to the tax payers and only spend tax dollars in a manner that best supports the specific needs of the District. Spending unknown amounts of hard earned tax dollars on things like unqualified staff, legal counsel fees and unnecessary settlements over the past year has been detrimental to the district’s budget. Every penny in the budget needs to be transparently accounted for. We need to work together to identify ways to recruit and retain not only students but quality staff. The turnover of staff and students speaks for itself. We need to take a serious look and identify the reasons behind these issues so they can be fixed.

    Any other thoughts on why you are running or what you can bring to the office? 150 words or less: As the SRO for Wiscasset I became trained in things like safety, substance abuse, food security and became certified as a Mental Health First Aider for youth and a Civil Rights Officer. I have built strong relationships with the Maine Department of Education and other agencies that support the school’s success. I built strong relationships with students and their families. I have heard their concerns and desires for the District. I am a firm believer that elected officials are the voice for the people who elected them. We need strong leaders who serve the people they represent and not their own wants and whims. The focus should be the good of the District and not personal connections. I feel we need drastic changes in our District and that only comes from the top down. I also firmly believe that you should become the change you would like to see.