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TMCNet:  Peters schools OK another $28,000 for security

[February 21, 2013]

Peters schools OK another $28,000 for security

Feb 21, 2013 (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- In response to the violence in schools nationwide, Peters school directors Tuesday approved nearly $28,000 in spending to beef up security in the district's five schools.

The board voted unanimously to award three contracts to Allegheny Safe & Lock in Cranberry for video phones, which are already located in some of the schools, along with new door-lock systems and wireless panic buttons.

"Every school will now have the same video phone with a clearer picture," said board member Ronald Dunleavy, who heads the board's buildings and grounds committee.

The video phones will allow staff members to clearly see visitors before they are given access to the buildings. Currently, outside doors are locked and visitors must press a button and identify themselves before they are allowed to enter.

Each school also will be equipped with two panic alarms, which can be stationary or mobile, Mr. Dunleavy said. Pressing the button will summon police, much like similar alarms in banks.

The district already has a contract in place with the township police department for an armed police officer who monitors the buildings during school hours.

In other business, the directors asked acting superintendent Joseph Dimperio to investigate whether they can require athletic coaches to be fingerprinted for criminal record background searches.

Currently, teachers and school board members are required to pass similar background checks.

Coaches and others who have contact with students are required to pass child-abuse clearances, but the fingerprinting would allow a more thorough background search using a nationwide database developed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Board member Sue Smith questioned why coaches, who have direct contact with students, were exempt from the fingerprinting requirement.

"It just seems reasonable to me," she said.

Board members also said they met last week in a private session with a superintendent search firm and advertisements have been placed for a new district leader. Former superintendent Nina Zetty resigned late last year to accept a job with the Gateway School District.

Board members said they expected to begin interviewing candidates March 19-20 and hope to hire a new superintendent by summer.

Focus groups will be organized soon to begin gathering public input into the process.

Janice Crompton: jcrompton@post-gazette.com or 412-851-1867.

___ (c)2013 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at www.post-gazette.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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