Franklin Regional tragedy prompts Penn-Trafford to review safety plans
For the second time in 15 months, Penn-Trafford school officials will reassess their emergency plans because of a mass attack on students.
The first review was after a December 2012 attack resulted in 26 deaths in a Connecticut elementary school. This one is prompted by a sorrow far closer to home.
Penn-Trafford administrators pitched in at Franklin Regional Senior High School on April 9 after, according to police, a 16-year-old boy's knife attack left 21 students and a security guard with injuries.
Superintendent Matt Harris, high school Principal Scott Inglese and business manager Brett Lago helped with the process of connecting students with their parents at Heritage Elementary School after Franklin Regional officials evacuated the high school.
Inglese, who will take over as assistant superintendent this summer, said officials will reconvene their crisis team because of the stabbings at Franklin Regional. They did the same after the fatal shootings of 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn.
“It was certainly an eye-opener to us, and a valuable learning experience for us,” Inglese said of helping at Franklin Regional.
Like its neighboring district, Penn-Trafford doesn't have metal detectors at the high school, which will be undergoing a two-year remodeling that district officials capped at $32 million.
Though metal detectors aren't in the construction plans, officials are prioritizing the installation of a new gravel, gated road off Warrior Court to provide access to emergency vehicles.
The frenzy at Franklin Regional reinforced the need for that road, Inglese said. If an emergency were to happen at Penn-Trafford when a lot of buses were on campus — as was the case with the morning rampage in Murrysville — the road would bypass a logjammed entrance off Route 130.
“That emergency access is very critical,” Inglese said.
District administrators met with Penn Township police Chief John Otto Tuesday morning and are scheduled to meet with him again on April 28, Harris said. All but one of the district's seven school buildings are in Penn Township.
Otto's department gained first-hand experience when officers attended to Franklin Regional stabbing victims, directed traffic and helped to secure the campus during last week's crisis, but the situation wasn't an entirely foreign experience. Officers trained for critical incidents in 2012 and 2013.
Otto credited Franklin Regional officials for having a good relationship with local police and emergency services so first-responders could do their jobs quickly to prevent any fatalities.
“Some of the kids were injured quite severely, but because things happened as fast as they did, we're looking at an optimistic situation instead of ‘what-iffing' it,” Otto said.
“This event, as unfortunate as it was, showed how well things can turn out when people have training, utilize the training, work together and share resources.”
In the coming weeks, Harris said, district officials also will meet with police in Manor and Trafford and other emergency-service agencies.
Trafford Mayor Rey Peduzzi, a retired Penn-Trafford principal, said borough officials have been proactive by arranging to have Trafford police tour the Trafford Schools complex so they are familiar with the building.
“When they do the critique of that episode in relation to how prepared we are, we're going to be in involved with that,” Peduzzi said.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, 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.
- Year’s worth of rain floods Qatar
- Steelers veteran linebacker Harrison focused on stretch run
- Online sales, promotions give Pittsburgh-area stores global reach
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin ends practice with third-down work
- Crosby scores twice, Malkin delivers OT goal as Penguins beat Blues
- Penguins co-owner Lemieux snuffs rumored rift with Crosby
- North Hills Community Outreach’s Community Auto program giving away vehicle
- Friends, family, history lure natives back to Western Pennsylvania
- Edge Sports Academy will be offseason training option for baseball, softball players
- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra offers own tradition with ‘Waltz’
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin not grooming successor to RB Williams