Schools Review Security Measures
Reeger, Jennifer, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
The murder of five Amish girls in their one-room schoolhouse this week has local educational leaders re-emphasizing security.
"We have reviewed our procedures, and we are evaluating to see if there are other things we could do to make both of our campuses more secure," said Merle Skinner, executive director of Champion Christian Academy. "Out of that discussion could come a couple changes."
The 125-student academy has two campuses. Secondary students attend school in Donegal, and elementary children attend a facility in Indian Head.
Skinner said phones in each room of the buildings enable staff members to communicate in case of an emergency. No buzzer systems or cameras are in place. But the recent school shootings, in Lancaster County and nationally, have Skinner reviewing whether all school doors should be locked.
"We certainly don't want our kids to be afraid of the world they live in, but we want to be intentional about security and safety both on campus and off campus," Skinner said.
Yough Superintendent Larry Nemec sent out letters to his principals and staff this week, reminding them of the importance of security and emphasizing that all doors should be locked.
Visitors can only access buildings using a buzzer system in place at all district buildings. Security cameras are located outside the middle school and the high school.
"We just want to make sure that everyone makes sure the doors must be locked -- there should be no exceptions -- and just become more aware of our surroundings and what's going on," Nemec said.
Jeannette Superintendent Vince Aiello reissued a memo to administrators that he sent after the Columbine tragedy in 1999 and again in 2001 after another instance of school violence.
He said Jeannette will continue its crisis management plan and security features, which include locked doors and a buzzer system.
But Aiello plans to discuss the issue with the school board on Monday.
"You feel like you're pretty secure, but you just never know," Aiello said. "I don't know if we feel we'll need to do any more, but I do want to discuss it with the board."
At Thursday's Derry Area School Board meeting, Superintendent Joseph Bellissimo suggested the upgrading of security at the district's secondary schools. …