Butler Area schools to arm school police officers as a precaution
The Butler Area School Board has authorized school police officers to carry firearms not because of any immediate threat, but as a precaution, school board President Don Pringle said Tuesday.
A dozen school district police officers should be armed within the next two or three months since the board approves final policies and procedures, he said.
“We're not making it into a prison,” Pringle said. “We're doing this for the protection of our students. We don't want to be thinking, ‘Oh, my goodness, I wish we would have.' ”
The board voted 8-1 on Monday to arm the police, with board member Jim Keffalas casting the dissenting vote.
Keffalas could not be reached on Tuesday. Superintendent Michael Strutt could not be reached.
The district isn't saying how it will deploy the armed police because of security concerns, Pringle said.There have been no immediate threats of violence, Pringle said. Incidents in the past few years included an angry parent going to a school with a gun. He said the school board began talking about the issue upon the Feb. 27 shooting spree by a student inside Chardon High School in Ohio that killed three students and wounded three.
Butler Area's school police force consists of retired state troopers.
“They have extensive training in carrying guns,” Pringle said. “They're not going to be handing guns to people like you and me; these are people who have handled guns for 20 or 30 years.”
Pittsburgh Public Schools does not arm its police officers in the schools, spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said. The School District of Philadelphia does not arm its police officers, spokesman Fernando Gallard said, but city police officers assigned to each of the 23 large neighborhood high schools in the district carry firearms.
Pringle said that the district has metal detectors at all 11 elementary schools and three secondary buildings.
The district has about 7,500 students and 1,000 staff members.
Pringle said it could cost the district less than $50,000 to put the program into place, including paying for firearms.
“It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when,” Pringle said of the possibility of violence in the schools.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 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.
- Seneca Valley welcomes Best Buddies club
- Mars community pool may close for good without help
- SRU theater students step onto Scotland stage
- Cranberry woman found dead in car that went over embankment