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Headmaster Tim Viands Presents Testimony on Ohio House Bill 455

Headmaster Tim Viands Presents Testimony on Ohio House Bill 455

Grand River Academy (GRA) Headmaster Tim Viands traveled to the Ohio State House in Columbus on April 12, 2016 to present testimony on House Bill 455 (HB 455), which provides safety areas around boarding schools. State Representative John Patterson was a primary sponsor this bill, along with fellow State Representative Kristina Roegner.

Also providing proponent testimony was Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Independent Schools, and former Ohio State Representative, Dan Dodd.

HB 455 is proposed to amend section 4511.21 of the Ohio Revised Code to authorize a municipal corporation or township to establish a boarding school zone and a special speed limit within that zone. This change would allow local communities, such as Austinburg Township where GRA is located, to discuss and enact any changes that would increase the safety of students, faculty members, and their families that live and work on a boarding school campus.

In the summer of 2015, a speed trailer test performed for one week on College Street (the street that cuts directly through the campus of Grand River Academy) showed a need for such proposed safety measures. The Ohio State Highway Patrol recorded that out of the 5,462 cars that used the campus portion of College Street during that time, 1,840 of those cars were speeding 40mph or greater in an area with two crosswalks that students, faculty and staff use multiple times daily.

As Headmaster Viands included in his testimony “My ultimate duty is the safety of the students entrusted in our care. I cannot simply do nothing about a large potential danger to Grand River Academy community members…within the current law, it is not a matter of if a car vs. pedestrian accident will occur, it is a matter of when and how often.”

Headmaster Viands also notes that “This is a common sense bill. It provides a safe environment for boarding school campuses, gives local control to how the law will be enacted, and add the legal background necessary for the law to be enforced.”

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