Deer Lakes School Board looks at tighter security
In the wake of a devastating attack at a Connecticut elementary school, Deer Lakes School Board members want to discuss school security with the community.
The board on Tuesday decided that a special meeting is needed after reviewing a proposal for security improvements to the entryways at three of the district's schools.
A date for the meeting is expected to be set by Friday. Board President Lisa Merlo said it will be sometime during the last week of January or the first week of February.
Board Vice President L. Douglas McCausland suggested having a public meeting after hearing the proposal from HHSDR Architects & Engineers for new security vestibules at Deer Lakes Middle School, East Union Intermediate Center and Curtisville Primary Center.
The proposed improvements at all three schools generally involve installation of additional secure doors, and directing all visitors through the schools' offices before they would gain entry to the rest of the buildings.
HHSDR Vice President Matthew Franz said the project carries an estimated cost of $155,000.
Construction costs were estimated at $35,000 at Curtisville, $40,000 at the middle school and $45,000 at East Union.
If approved, Franz's time line showed bids being awarded in April, with construction starting June 10 and being finished by Aug. 30.
Board member William Lupone Jr. asked about other alternatives. He questioned the effectiveness of securing main entrances when the district's buildings have many doors.
“It's sort of like we have screen doors everywhere else but the front gate,” he said.
Franz said some schools are replacing doors with glass with steel doors with peepholes; some are putting alarms on doors that sound if they're left open for too long.
Lupone asked about replacing glass in doors with glass that includes wire mesh. Such windows cost $500 and up, said Garry Dixson, the district's director of buildings, grounds and transportation.
“It's a public building. Do you want to stop being that?” McCausland said. “You're never going to be fool-proof.
“No one can plan for an insane person doing an insane act.”
Board member James McCaskey said the board needs to talk about armed guards and metal detectors. It's a discussion he said he's not afraid to have.
“You need to know if there's a weapon or a gun when it enters your building,” he said.
Immediately after the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Deer Lakes stopped allowing parents from coming into its schools to have lunch with their children.
Parents mostly did this at the elementary level, and would sometimes bring siblings, acting Superintendent Janet Ciramella said.
Ciramella said the practice was disallowed to restrict who is in the buildings to students and personnel.
Also, visitors are now not allowed in the schools without an appointment.
Lockdown practices involving West Deer police will be held, Ciramella said.
Parents will be notified and told what week practices will be held, but not the specific day.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Two charged with selling heroin that killed Lower Burrell woman
- Snow sculptors have a ball with Iceburgh, Einstein
- Harrison mom, boyfriend charged in abuse of young boys
- Student suicide brings issue of bullying to fore in New Kensington-Arnold
- Apollo targets owners who fail to maintain vacant properties
- Drivers survive head-on crash on Route 356 in Allegheny Township
- Springdale Township standoff ends peacefully
- 17-year-old charged in Leechburg shooting that killed man, 18
- Family, friends still seek answers 30 years after Winfield child vanished
- Freeport Area School District seeks to stem losses on lunch program
- Teenage suspect in Leechburg killing held for trial