New Castle News


December 15, 2012

Grim Reflections: schools review security in wake of tragic shooting

NEW CASTLE — In the wake of tragedy, Lawrence County school and law enforcement officials are contemplating whether local schools are safe enough.

Their grim reflections come after 20-year-old Adam Lanza went on a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. yesterday morning, killing 20 primary school children and seven adults, including his mother, a teacher at the school.

George Gabriel, Superintendent of the New Castle Area School District, said the district in the past has taken proactive measures to secure the school district’s buildings to ensure student safety.

But now he is considering what else the district can do to make security controls even tighter.

The district has had several incidents lately that have been cause for concern. In one instance, police criminally charged a student who threatened to kill a teacher and blow up the school. A parent was charged with a felony for allegedly shoving an elementary principal, and a man wanted on an arrest warrant hid from police in a classroom after an evening basketball game.

The New Castle district employs two security guards and a resource officer, who is a city police officer, fully employed by the district, Gabriel said.

All of its school buildings are locked down during the school day, and no one is allowed entry without pressing a buzzer and being screened for admittance, he said.

Students attending New Castle’s junior-senior high must pass through a metal detector every day, Gabriel continued. The purses and backpacks also are searched.

While no weapons have been found, students have been found with other things that violate district policy, Gabriel said.

There are no metal detectors in the intermediate or primary schools.

“When you hear about something like this happening,” Gabriel said, regarding the Connecticut shooting, “it jogs the mind and really pierces the heart. It’s a very sad situation.”

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