Franklin Regional School District implements new security
Visiting the five schools of the Franklin Regional School District will require more patience this academic year.
District officials are finishing security upgrades that will change the way visitors enter all school buildings starting on the first day of school, Monday.
“We ask that visitors be patient, especially at the high school,” Superintendent Jamie Piraino said. “We've reconfigured things so that it's safer for our students and staff.”
Four buildings — the middle school and Heritage, Newlonsburg and Sloan elementaries — will have video-intercom buzzers that enable school staff to see who is entering the building. The lone exception is the high school, where a voice intercom was installed.
“It's a simple way to make the buildings safer,” said Mary Catherine Reljac, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. “It's a big impact in a simple way.”
Visitors have one way in and one way out of each building, Piraino said, and all visitors must show a photo identification.
“We want the buildings to be as safe as they can possibly be,” he said.
To facilitate the changes, major work had to be completed at some buildings. At Newlonsburg, workers are relocating the school office, where a secretary will screen visitors. The office will be in place about two weeks after classes begin.
The elementary school has the lowest enrollment of the five buildings, Piraino said, eliminating the need for a greeter, except during the office construction.
Offices at each of the other two elementary schools were already reconfigured for the new system, Piraino said.
At the high school, all front doors except the far left door will be locked during school hours.
Administrators and staff have been discussing changes to safety procedures at the schools throughout the past year, Piraino said. A regular review will continue, Reljac said.
“Safety is one of those things that we need to revisit regularly,” Reljac said. “The majority of the community's children are in our care. We need to be as careful as possible.”
Piraino said the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. reiterated the need for school officials to ensure schools are as safe as possible. For instance, each school secretary has an immediate contact with emergency responders and administrators – a similar set-up is in place at the Murrysville municipal building.
There was no incident or threat that prompted the changes, officials said. Murrysville Police Chief Tom Seefeld works with the district's safety committee and noted that there were several upgrades needed to the entrances at all school buildings.
“We've been very fortunate in this region that there has been no serious or critical incident,” Seefeld said. “Realistically, it can happen anywhere. We're responsible to implement the best practices we can.
“Nothing is 100 percent safe and secure, but we've put our heads together to get the best plan possible.”
Piraino asked parents and visitors to be patient as the new systems are implemented.
“It might take a few extra minutes, but it is worth it,” Piraino said. “We've been entrusted with a great responsibility here.”
Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.