Charleroi Area School District boosts security
FALLOWFIELD TOWNSHIP – The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month didn't set off security planning in the Charleroi Area School District.
But the tragic event heightened the senses of all, especially because the victims were mostly elementary-aged students, Charleroi Area Superintendent Dr. Brad Ferko said.
Ferko made those comments during a forum Wednesday night to discuss safety and security at Charleroi Area. More than 80 residents attended the session at the high school.
Ferko said the goal was to inform parents about security steps that are in place or being implemented – as well as to seek public input.
“Every day you send us your most precious resource, your children,” Ferko said.
Ferko said district officials did not want a “knee-jerk reaction” to Sandy Hook, but a well-thought-out plan to improve security.
He said security cameras were added that permit security director Mike Kresich and administrators to view every car that drives onto the campus.
Kresich implored residents to tell those in authority of anything they may learn that could be suspicious. Referring to Sandy Hook killer Adam Lanza, Kresich said, “Somebody, somewhere along the line, saw problems with this person and didn't come forward.
“All of the security measures won't mean a thing unless we work together and get that person help.”
Kresich said each classroom teacher has a flip-chart, crisis response handbook containing emergency contacts.
Kresich, a member of the Charleroi Regional Police Department, said the district campus is located in Fallowfield Township, which has no police force. However, he said regional police can be on campus in two minutes in the event of an emergency.
Kresich has met with local police and fire officials in recent months to explain the security process and is planning another session.
“A number of officers have kids here, too,” Kresich said. “And the fire department is very cooperative. We're in constant contact with them. If I ask them, they're here immediately.”
Ferko said the district is one of only three in the region to add U.S. Life Safety, which contains maps of the district campus on a web-based system.
Emergency drills are being discussed, Ferko said.
District officials are considering a system that locks all school building doors automatically. However, Ferko noted that students go from the high school to the building that houses the auditorium and gymnasium, for classes.
Parents expressed concerns that someone could walk into the building and brush past the greeter.
“I'm 28 years old, and I remember when we had to be buzzed in,” said April Snyder, parent of a kindergarten student.
“I'm concerned that those doors are not locked, and someone could come in at any time.”
Ferko said the district is looking into a swipe card system to secure doors and also badges for all employees.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Rostraver man sent to jail, faces new drug charges
- Valley men accused of burglary in Charleroi
- Hikers, bikers benefit from Belle Vernon senior’s Eagle Scout project
- Donora woman picked up on drug charges
- Belle Vernon man who allegedly offered dope to young girls jailed
- New Charleroi cameras helping cops catch criminals in the act
- N. Belle Vernon hires police officers
- Stockdale fire, N. Charleroi crash keep emergency personnel hopping
- Many laboring over Yesteryear memories as holiday approaches
- North Charleroi retiree spent almost 4 decades in medical profession
- Belle Vernon Area chief paints rosy picture of district