Shade considering school safety options

October 2, 2018

The Shade-Central City School District has explored the viability of hiring a resource officer for safety. That doesn’t mean, however, that an officer will be put on staff.

During a school board meeting Monday night, high school Principal Sean Wechtenhiser said that he had reached out to every Somerset County — and five Cambria County — school districts about their safety staffing. Windber is the only Somerset County district with a resource officer, he said.

He said there are grants available to help pay for an officer, but they would not cover the entire cost.

Superintendent John Krupper said there is another option through Pennsylvania Act 120 to have a school employee trained to carry a gun in school, but it would cost about $10,000 per employee.

Wechtenhiser, a safety coordinator with the district, said that the training essentially amounts to “going through police academy.”

“I don’t know the likelihood of that happening,” he said as far as Shade is concerned.

He said that the research came after safety concerns were brought to the district by the community.

Wechtenhiser said there is a police presence at Shade daily.

Shade Township police walk the hallways of the school regularly, he said. And a new mandate by state police requires that a state officer drive through every district in the county at least once a day, he added. The district is also working to secure a $25,000 state grant geared toward safety.

Wechtenhiser said the district is applying for the grant, and the application is due by Oct. 12. He said that as long as the grant is applied for, it is almost a sure deal. He said that over the next month, school officials are going to look into areas where that money can be used.

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