By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
Hermitage school and city officials have reached an agreement to have a policeman at the elementary-middle school complex each school day throughout dismissal times.
The agreement extends a relationship begun in January, when school and city officials, spurred by the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut, looked to improve school safety and security efforts.
The police department will provide a patrolman from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. to monitor student dismissal from Delahunty Middle and Ionta and Artman elementary schools.
Superintendent Dr. Daniel Bell told the school board about the arrangement Monday. He said no formal action was needed and no school directors spoke against the plan.
Board member Timothy Kizak said the policeman will move from building to building as there are different dismissal times for each school.
Dismissal is the one time of the day when the buildings are open as parents who wish to pick up their children from school are allowed to enter, Bell said. Parents go to the community room in the Artman building or the cafeteria at the Delahunty-Ionta complex to meet their children.
While parents must provide identification to leave the rooms with their children, officials don’t necessarily know all of the people who enter the building at that time, Bell said.
“A significant number of people walk in to reunite with our students,” he said. “Things happen quickly. This is the one time of the day when we feel it is important to have a security presence.”
The morning dropoff time is different because parents do not enter the buildings, he said.
There also have been occasional custody disputes at dismissal time that have required officials to call police, he said.
The district’s resource officer, Anthony Moses, a uniformed Hermitage policeman, will remain at the high school during the school day. The district pays 75 percent of his salary and benefits.
Bell said he had extensive discussions with city Manager Gary P. Hinkson and police Chief Brian Blair and they jointly agreed that having a policeman stationed at the elementary-middle school complex was the “long-term solution” school officials had been seeking.
The city will charge the school district $5,000 a year for the service.
“They’re not passing on the full costs to us,” Bell said.