Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

District Plans Meeting to Talk about School Safety Fla. School Shooting Provides Impetus

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

District Plans Meeting to Talk about School Safety Fla. School Shooting Provides Impetus

Article excerpt

North Allegheny School District will hold an informational meeting on school safety at 7 p.m. Monday at Marshall Middle School.

A town hall, similar to those held on school start times, was one of the items requested by a group of parents at the Feb. 21 school board meeting, which occurred one week after 17 people were killed - 14 of them students - in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

"Events that happened last week in Florida are a grim reminder that guns are making their way into our schools," said Karen Rusnica, who has children at McKnight Elementary and Carson Middle schools.

Board president Kevin Mahler also addressed the Parkland incident.

"Unfortunately, this is neither the first, nor I fear, the last act of violence in schools across the nation," he said. "I also want to take this opportunity to assure everyone that the safety of our students and staff remains our number one priority."

Mr. Mahler listed some of the moves made by the district during the past few years, including Critical Incident Response Training through INPAX, along with "Stop the Bleed" training through UPMC.

The district also has ramped up security in its buildings, including captured vestibules and background checks for volunteers. The security is in place during the school day, but not for after-school activities.

The group of parents who spoke last week added their own suggestions, including hiring school resource officers and installing metal detectors.

Mrs. Rusnica noted that other area schools, including Mars Area and Seneca Valley, have metal detectors.

Josh Schwoebel, director of communications for Mars Area, said the district installed metal detectors at the high school and middle school in September 1999, five months after the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

All students in the two schools - grades 7-12 - pass through the metal detectors and submit to bag searches when they arrive at school every morning. …

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