New Castle News

December 29, 2012

Union schools approve armed guards

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Both schools in the Union Area School District will have armed security guards in the new year.

At a special meeting yesterday, the school board unanimously approved the hiring of an armed security guard for the elementary school at a salary of $11.50 per hour. Prior to the vote, the board interviewed three candidates for the position in executive session.

It also approved a motion to enter into an agreement with the Union Township police department and township supervisors to provide a full-time officer. The officer will move back and forth between the elementary building and middle/high school, according to board president John Bertolino.

Details of the agreement are to be negotiated between the district and the township.

The motions were approved by 8-0 votes. Board member Greg Cassella was absent.

A third security officer, a retired state policeman, has been assigned to the middle/high school for about 10 years, but has been unarmed. Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Angelucci said the officer will be armed on Wednesday when students return after the Christmas break.

The board’s action comes in the wake of the shooting deaths of students and adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14.

Two township residents called for more security at the schools. One of them, Larry Forletta, formerly with the Drug Enforcement Administration, said, “I’m totally in favor of armed, trained professionals.”

“Teachers and students need to be protected,” he added.