MERCER COUNTY —
Schools take closer look at safety procedures
By Courtney L. Saylor
Herald Staff Writer
School boards and officials in Mercer County are reviewing and tweaking their safety protocols.
“We’re doing our homework,” said Sharon City School District Superintendent John Sarandrea.
Sarandrea said officials are “more than likely” going to add an armed presence in each building. He said they’re negotiating with security providers and may hire retired state police to walk the halls.
Sarandrea said they are also adding keypads to some entrances, which some buildings already have.
He said district officials are talking about routing their security camera feeds to a neutral site so that any intruder can be observed from a safe location.
Sarandrea said they would like to have the new measures in place by the end of the month.
Mercer Area School District officials are also looking at adding an armed school resource officer to the payroll.
Superintendent Dr. William Gathers said school board committees are discussing that issue and if they decide to hire a guard or policeman it would be a first in the district.
He said they have armed security at most athletic contests but generally not in the buildings during the school year. Mercer police have helped out in the schools on occasion, he said.
The school board will likely have an idea of what it wants to do by its meeting Jan. 28, Gathers said.
He noted that the recent elementary school renovation included security upgrades and officials believe it is safe, but they’ll be reviewing procedures and equipment.