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Parents want trainers on the field
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Local attorney Stephanie Lindsey is a football mom for the Newton Rams as well.

At Tuesday's Board of Education meeting she addressed the board on behalf of other concerned Ram football parents.

"Kids, especially in football, basketball and baseball, are getting hurt like you would not believe," Lindsey said, "and we're not talking about scrapes here - we're talking about serious injuries - brain injuries and fractures."

Lindsey noted a recent sports injury which required the student to be airlifted to a hospital in Atlanta, and another student who played briefly with a collar bone fracture.

"Our coach said yesterday, 'you know what I have to treat injuries - alcohol and a bag of ice,'" Lindsey said.

At a meeting of parents whose children play football, attendees decided that high schools needed athletic trainers who could correctly discern the seriousness of an injury sustained during practices and games.

"In a perfect world we would easily be able to get a doctor to do that, but we don't live in a perfect world," Lindsey said.

As an attorney Lindsey advised the board of low-cost options they could consider. The first was to work with college interns, who would be hands-off for liability purposes but who could offer expert advice about injuries.

The second would be for the schools to partner with medical facilities in the county.

Board Chairman Johnny Smith said if the board considered any of these options for the high schools they would have to include the middle schools too.

"They have all the same activities there that the high schools do," Smith said.

Lindsey told the board she understood financial constraints regarding the parents' request but simply wanted bring their concerns to the board's awareness.

"If we form some kind of committee, we can look at having you on it," board member Kathy Dobbs told Lindsey. She said she would be happy to help in any way she could and would be eager to begin an open dialogue among parents, coaches and members of the board.

"We need to have sports activities - they are important to students' well rounded educations," Lindsey said, "but we need to protect the students involved in those sports activities."

In other news from Tuesday night's board meeting:

• Construction on the county's 13th elementary school, located on Salem Road, is on schedule. Carol Daniel Construction crews are erecting steel and have almost completed curbs and gutters. Asphalt paving has begun also. Bids for the middle school located on the same site will be received in October.

• Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students will take a second round of benchmark tests to determine weaknesses in language arts, math, science and social studies Nov. 16 through Dec. 14. The first tests were administered July 31 through Aug. 12.

• Five Newton County educators have been selected to participate in the Georgia Leadership Institute's Leadership Preparation Performance Coaching training program and will partner with aspiring principals who are participants in GLISI's Rising Stars Program. Those who will be trained as coaches are Naomi Cobb, Robert Daria, Holly Dubois, Samantha Fuhrey and Kathy Reese. Aspiring principals who will pair with mentors are Kim Coady, Takila Curry, LaSharon McClain, Bruce McColum and Vicki Gheesling.

• Representatives of the School Improvement Division of the Department of Education have assigned leadership facilitators and learning support specialists to work with Clements Middle and Porterdale Elementary monthly and with Oak Hill Elementary and Middle Ridge Elementary on a less frequent basis.

• Shelley Yeatman, Laura Green and Becky Prosser Smallwood have been selected by the state's pre-k consultant to participate in the Bright from the Start, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning's Mentor Teacher Program. They will participate in training at Georgia State University to learn how to facilitate regional training for new pre-k teachers.

• The Georgia High School Writing Tests, which students must pass to earn a diploma, will be administered to all juniors on Sept. 26.

• Students in second, third, fourth, fifth and eighth grades will take the norm-referenced Iowa Tests of Basic Skills Sept. 17-21.