Octorara delays decision on armed security guard

AB17380Although the Octorara Area School District has received a $40,000 state safe schools grant to place an armed security officer on campus, school board members said March 17 they might not accept the grant.

Board members delayed their vote until their April 14 meeting to give more community members a chance to weigh in on the matter.

That angered about 30 community members of the district’s volunteer Community School Safety Task Force who applied for the grant and have lobbied the school board for more security since the 2012 Sandy Hook, Conn., school shooting.

“I’m pleading with you as a mother to use the grant money now,” said Kristin Weber from West Fallowfield Township.

Weber said she was speaking for children and for teachers, who should be able to teach and not have to be a first line of defense.

Board member Hank Oleyniczak, who is also a retired former commander of the Pennsylvania State Police, recommended implementing the grant by contracting for the services of a retired professional police officer through Signal 88 Security.

The grant gives the district seed money to put a school resource officer on duty at no cost this year. During the 2014-15 school year, the district’s cost for the officer’s services could run $30,000 to $50,000, depending on whether the officer would assume some of the before-and-after school traffic patrol currently handled by Signal 88 Security. There is no guarantee grant money will continue beyond next school year.

Board members Tim Alexander and Brian Norris raised concerns from their constituents about the officer’s job description and said some community members don’t want armed security on campus.

Many citizens stood to comment during the meeting, but only one cautioned the school board about accepting the grant.

Sandy Riehl of Highland Township said the school board would have to authorize the security officer to “shoot to kill a student.”

“The school board will never make that decision,” Oleyniczak said, noting that decision, in the event of school violence, would be in the hands of the police professional.

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16 responses to “Octorara delays decision on armed security guard

  1. Well, it’s good to see a reasoned approach and dialogue on this important issue. I’m not sure what was meant by the statement about Parkesburg police not always being on duty during the day. As far as I know Parkesburg maintains 24/7 coverage. I also am interested in the referral to the Amish school shooting. As far as I know no Amish schools have gone into lock down or established armed guards as a result of their tragedy. Regarding the thefts and other incidents it would be good to compare OHS to the other schools in the area to see if their is a significant difference and particularly to compare our rate of incidents to any similar schools that have an armed presence. Thank you to the board and administration for being so thoughtful in their decision=-making.

    • Hank Oleyniczak statement was that Parkesburg Police only provides a few hours of coverage a month, and Highland Township is covered by the State Police the majority of the time. At the work session meeting, he also asserted that 911 Dispatch would not know who to dispatch to Octorara even if Parkesburg and other local departments collaborated to give coverage to the School District.

      • The school district is split in half at the elementary school driveway by West Fallowfield Township and Highland Twp. The high school, junior high and the OIS are in West Fallowfield. OPLC and OES are in Highland Township. 911 Dispatch knows who to dispatch as they receive a schedule from the West Fallowfield PD each month showing when they are on duty.

        • Edit* – That is meant to read school campus not school district

        • The idea of 911 not knowing who to dispatch was Hank Oleyniczak’s response to the idea of all municipalities within the Districts creating a unified response team for the District.

          Mr Oleyniczak description of the situation was that police coverage of the District ranges from sparse to nonexistence, leaving the only reliable response coming from the State Police… which could take 15 minutes.

        • EDIT 911 Dispatch knows when the WFPD is on duty when an officer is logged into there system. If an officer is not logged in the state police are dispatched.

  2. Anyone that did any research on Sandy Hook would find out that it was a staged false flag event.The purpose for it a gun grab.

  3. Dave had mentioned this on fb and we were talking about this last night. Do people realize that the grant only pays for the guard one time and after that the taxpayers have to pay his salary????? This will raise the taxes again or who will pay for him/her?? It was also mentioned that the kids go out back doors and prop them open with chairs to get back in. How would they monitor that?? With sensors on all the doors maybe?? If someone wants into the school that bad, one man covering all the schools would not make any difference, gun or no gun.

  4. Debbie,

    Yes, the people who want armed security seem to understand that it will eventually fall on the shoulders of local taxpayers. One person at the meeting even said no cost is too much if it has the potential to save even one life.

    You should really come to the next Board Meeting. It is really the best way to get your voice out there. While I pay close attention to online conversations on the topic, some other Board Members do not.

  5. Thanks ! I’m working on it! Hard to keep me down! Lol

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