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Superintendent: Staff vigilant to protect students


December 18, 2012
Morning Journal News

BEAVER TOWNSHIP- South Range Local school administration reassured parents and residents Monday night that district personnel are doing everything possible to keep students safe.

In response to the Connecticut elementary school shooting Friday, school Superintendent Dennis Dunham addressed the security issue at the regular school board meeting, noting that he met with building principals that morning to go over policies.

"Thankfully with the new school we have the latest in (security) technology," he said. "We're dedicated to doing what's best for the students and continue to be vigilant in terms of security."

Dunham said that the administration is making a committed effort to talk with and listen to the students more to confront possible problems with members of the student body, as well as taking a stricter stance in identifying visitors at the school.

"There will be inconveniences (for visitors) and in some cases it may take a few minutes longer to get in, but I think everyone will be okay with that instead of the alternative," he said.

Currently all doors are locked during school hours and visitors must be admitted into the reception area at each building wing to sign in before going to their destination within that wing, according to Dunham.

The staff and students are also being trained for emergencies, most notably that students in unaffected areas should be evacuated as quickly as possible. In the event of an intruder, the school will be locked down and staff will be made aware of the situation via the intercom. The Beaver Township Police Department will also have a live feed to the school's security cameras in order to provide real time information during the event. There is also a Peace and Safety Committee that meets monthly to discuss emergency policies.

Dunham noted that he has not received any calls questioning the security at the school, but agreed to alert parents about what steps are being taken to keep their children safe.

In other business, the board rejected the only bid it received for construction of a 2,000-square-foot board offices facility next to the sports complex on state Route 46 due to it being more costly than the district can afford. The bid package will be modified and re-bid. The board is looking to spend only what it received in the sale of the district's old buildings.

The board also approved field trips for the baseball and softball teams to Myrtle Beach over spring break.

Also at the meeting, Shari Lewis, the district's director of curriculum and special education, reported that the district is joining Boardman and West Branch in pursuit of a $250,000 grant to help fund early literacy at the districts. She said the grant is due by Dec. 31 and awarded April 30.

The reorganizational meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 7 in the high school Band Room.

Kevin Howell can be reached at



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