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Fanklin Regional to spend $86,500 to upgrade security

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 8:42 p.m.

Franklin Regional officials plan to enhance security at all five district buildings this summer.

Director of District Services Dennis Majewski said Monday that his department will work on an $86,500 project that will include structural changes, door and lock improvements and additional cameras for monitoring. Administrators also are working on policy changes to tighten security at the schools.

“Safety is an issue we need to be cautious with,” Superintendent Jamie Piraino said.

In recent years, Franklin Regional has implemented a “deter, detection, delay” strategy, Majewski said. That strategy has led officials to place security cameras in all buildings, employ a full-time, school-resource officer and increase the number of security guards on campus. An all-hazard emergency safety plan is in place and has been tested, Majewski said.

School officials across the country have been reevaluating security measures following the December mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Twenty children and six adults were killed in that incident. Following the shooting, Franklin Regional increased security at its schools and worked with Murrysville police to increase police presence at all five buildings.

In a memo to the school board, Majewski said various committees have been looking at the policies and procedures for how visitors are monitored and controlled at entrances and schools.

“Visitors have demonstrated that there are ways that they can bypass the current procedures and enter the offices or the schools unauthorized,” Majewski wrote. Volunteers sit at the entrance of the three elementary schools and require all visitors to sign in. Visitors are able to walk into the office at the middle and high schools.

Majewski said there will be an average of two more cameras at every school.

“It's worked well for us,” Majewski said.

Piraino and Majewski were reluctant to detail the changes that will be made this summer.

“If we announce specific actions we're taking at a school, that sort of defeats the purpose,” Piraino said. “Letting folks know your preventative measures doesn't benefit the safety of our students.”

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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