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Valley News Dispatch

Leechburg Area students to return Friday, with security doubled

Chuck Biedka
| Thursday, March 8, 2018, 2:27 p.m.
Eric Felack | Tribune-Review

Leechburg Area classes will resume Friday, a day after they were canceled because of a threat on social media, Superintendent Tiffany Brzezinski-Nix said.

Gilpin police are investigating; the threat originated in the township, police Chief Lee Schumaker said.

“We are interviewing people,” Schumaker said Thursday

Leechburg police will assist school security if needed. Leechburg temporary Officer in Charge Jason Schaeffer said officers will be standing by outside schools.

Brzezinski-Nix was told the investigation “could take a day or it could take weeks.“

She said district representatives met with Gilpin police and the district's security firm, Armstrong Lock and Security, early Thursday to create a plan for the return to classes.

On a usual day, two armed retired state troopers are in the schools. Security will double when school reopens Friday, she said.

In addition, bags will be checked and every student will walk through metal detectors.

Leechburg police will have a presence outside the district school complex. “Students will see security outside in the bag check lines, where typically there is not someone assigned,” Brzezinski-Nix said.

She said students should be prepared for longer and slower lines in the bag check area, and they should “avoid wearing steel-toed boots and belts ... unless it is an absolute necessity” for those who attend Lenape Technical School.

“If they do need to wear them, they will be asked to remove these accessories to go through the detectors.”

Student and staff safety is the first priority every day, the superintendent said.

“It saddens me that Leechburg, like so many other schools, has become a target for social media slander and threats over the last few weeks. We take this very seriously and will not tolerate such barbaric behavior.”

Brzezinski-Nix said anyone who “makes the choice to engage in this nonsense will be prosecuted to the fullest extent.”

She asked parents and students to check the district website for any additional updates.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711, or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.

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