By Elizabeth Perry
The Sto-Rox School district is trying to address security issues which have been a constant concern of students and their parents.
Walking into Sto-Rox Jr./Sr. High School is different than it was last year. Additional silvery metal detectors at the entrances and new doors with a card reader greet visitors. These additions have been in many other schools across the country for more than two decades.
At a Nov. 17 meeting, student representative Mikayla Borda, a sophomore at the high school said the school feels safer than it did before, with security guards patrolling the halls and the aforementioned new doors.
During that meeting, the board approved an amendment to the security services agreement with the private security firm, Commission, LLC. requiring National Association of School Resource Officer training. The security firm is being paid for with a $128,000 grant from Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
The training was a requirement of the grant, Superintendent Megan Van Fossan said. The “Basic School Resource Officer Course” is a 40-hour requirement that teaches security officers how to behave within a school setting.
Classes cost between $500 to $550 per officer according to the NASARO website.
On Nov. 17, the board agreed to accept a parental waiver to skip a board hearing regarding disciplinary action against a student.
The parent accepted an agreement with the school district to accept disciplinary action laid out in an agreement. Dan Rinkus, district communications specialist, could not say what the discipline was in connection with.
On Oct. 28, a gun was found in the possession of a student during a morning security check and the police were called. Their parents were brought in and that student was sent home. On the same day, a different student was found with a weapon. Rinkus said he could not confirm or deny if the disciplinary measure was related to either of these issues.
According to the student handbook, the district expels a student who violates the weapons policy for an entire year and the expulsion, “shall be given in conformance with formal due process proceedings required by law.”
The superintendent can make “modifications” on a “case-by-case basis.”
Superintendent Megan Van Fossan declined to comment about the specific incident.
She did say via email: “What is key is our safety procedures worked, as we have not had any weapons enter the building this year.”