Stabbing renews safety concerns in Mon Valley schools
Wednesday's stabbing at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville renewed concern about safety in Mon-Yough schools.
“Events like this put us all in a position to review our current practice and procedures and imagine our response,” West Mifflin Area Superintendent Daniel R. Castagna said. “I am confident that the West Mifflin Area School District is safer than it has ever been in our history.”
Authorities said Franklin Regional sophomore Alex Hribel, 16, stabbed or slashed 21 classmates and a security guard from North Irwin before he was tackled by an assistant principal.
“In situations like this you can never prepare completely,” Elizabeth Forward Superintendent Bart Rocco said. “All incidents like this that occur in schools are different and after such incidents we learn a great deal about how our emergency plans may need to be adjusted.”
Clairton, Duquesne, East Allegheny, McKeesport Area, Steel Valley and West Mifflin Area districts have metal detectors.
Greensburg Catholic Diocese spokesman Jerry Zufelt said any re-examination of procedures for its schools including Queen of Angels Elementary in North Huntingdon Township would require more facts, “such as how the ssailant got the weapons into (Franklin Regional).”
Most districts have security cameras.
“We have what we refer to as a high-alert security system,” East Allegheny's head high school principal Don MacFann said. “We accompany that with physical observations, we have security as well as school administrators constantly checking the grounds to make sure the doors are closed and under lock and key.”
At Queen of Angels, “all doors are locked during the day,” Zufelt said. “Visitors have to announce themselves, usually at the main entrance, be ‘buzzed in' then they have to sign in once they are inside the building. When students are entering and leaving the building, whether it's morning arrival, afternoon dismissal or a midday activity, the open doors must be monitored by a school employee.”
MacFann said East Allegheny has excellent communication with North Versailles Township police.
“Chief (Vincent) DiCenzo is a wonderful person to work with,” the East Allegheny principal said. Additionally, East Allegheny uses an automated system to notify parents “which we use often.”
“A Liberty borough police officer is assigned and present at South Allegheny Middle/High School daily,” South Allegheny district spokeswoman Laura Thomson said. “Our safety committee meets monthly and continually reviews our emergency plans to ensure that our plans are current and address the specific needs of our district.”
“Propel takes safety and security measures very seriously,” said Tina Chekan, superintendent for Propel's network of charter schools. “Emergency action plans are in place in each school. These plans are continually reviewed and updated to ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff.”
Beside safety issues, Wednesday's events raised other questions.
“These tragic occurrences to me point to the need for systemic change from the state level down to address the numerous emotional and psychological conditions facing our children,” West Mifflin Area's Castagna said. “This isn't a time to point blame. This isn't a time to make accusations. This is a time to listen, because in my opinion, that is exactly what these children need.”
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, 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.
- Teen who accused Clairton police of brutality pleads guilty to lesser charges
- Greensburg pit bull advocacy group plans fundraiser in Homestead
- Businessman responds to Brewster shale tax proposal
- West Mifflin OKs budget, repeals gun law in response to Act 192
- StatMedevac wins safety award
- West Mifflin soccer fields nearly done, but play will be delayed
- Munhall’s $8.3 million spending plan has no tax hike or furloughs
- Executive says Century III revival plan remains on track
- Polka musician ‘Mr. December’ bringing his fiddle to McKeesport lodge
- Tax break extension bill has goodies for Mon-Yough area
- West Mifflin man charged with risking catastrophe