Upper St. Clair Superintendent Patrick O'Toole discussed security measures and changes in the school district on the one-month anniversary of the Newtown massacre.
"There are some really difficult decisions on what school environment we will have. Obviously, we want a safe environment," O'Toole told school directors on Monday night.
Currently the school district has two school police officers that "basically have the authority of municipal officers," according to O'Toole.
There are also two additional part-time security officers. They have been "working more full-time recently."
"We've had a bigger and expanded presence at the three elementary schools and two middle schools (than before)," O'Toole said.
Plans have sped up to bring Raptorware, a visitor management system, to the elementary and middle schools during the second semester. It's already installed at Upper St. Clair High School.
School Director Harry Kunselman said he would like to have the following questions discussed and answered in the near future:
- Should we consider metal detectors?
- Should we have armed security in any or all of the buildings?
- Our buildings are used frequently by many different groups in the community. Are there any steps to add security then?
What would you like to see change in the Upper St. Clair School District in terms of security? Do you think there should be metal detectors and/or armed guards? Tell us in the comments at the end of this article.
"We obviously would prefer not to have our buildings to feel like a high-security prison ... but at the same time, we have to be prepared for the unexpected given the age in which we live," Kunselman said.
In the meantime, U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) announced a federal effort to review programs to prevent another Newtown tragedy:
“For too long, mental illness has been a topic saved for the shadows, often going unmentioned ... I welcome the opportunity to lead the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee in a meaningful conversation on mental health as we examine mental health resources and programs across the federal spectrum. The subcommittee will begin an overview of these programs to determine the current state of mental health research and what role mental illness plays in these tragedies. We will seek out any and all expert perspectives to gain a better understanding and learn how we can do better.”
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