Dis­tricts from re­gion re­ceive funds to make schools safer

The Times-Tribune - - LOCAL - Con­tact the writer: shofius@timessham­rock.com; 570-348-9133; @hofiushalltt on Twit­ter BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL STAFF WRITER

Four Lack­awanna County school dis­tricts will share more than $100,000 in state grants to make stu­dents safer.

The Safe Schools Tar­geted grants are part of an $8.4 mil­lion in­vest­ment to pre­vent and re­duce vi­o­lent in­ci­dents in schools, pur­chase safety and se­cu­rity-re­lated equip­ment and pro­vide train­ing and com­pen­sa­tion of school re­source and po­lice of­fi­cers.

Scran­ton re­ceived $25,000, and River­side got $20,206 for the pur­chase of se­cu­ri­tyre­lated equip­ment to in­crease safety at schools. Equip­ment el­i­gi­ble for pur­chase with grant fund­ing in­cludes iden­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tems, me­tal de­tec­tors, pro­tec­tive light­ing, sur­veil­lance equip­ment, emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment and train­ing in the use of se­cu­rity-re­lated tech­nol­ogy.

“Be­ing awarded this grant has al­lowed us to take ad­van­tage of tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances that will help to keep our stu­dents safe in terms of preven­tion and dur­ing times when ev­ery sec­ond mat­ters,” River­side Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Bren­nan said.

Scran­ton will use the grant money to pur­chase me­tal de­tec­tors for West Scran­ton High School and the three in­ter­me­di­ate schools, Su­per­in­ten­dent Alexis Kirijan, ED.D., said.

Car­bon­dale Area will re­ceive $39,500, and Val­ley View will re­ceive $30,240 for the train­ing and com­pen­sa­tion of school po­lice of­fi­cers. Car­bon­dale started its own school Po­lice De­part­ment this year, hir­ing a direc­tor of school safety and se­cu­rity and a sec­ond of­fi­cer to pa­trol cam­pus.

“We are so grate­ful for the award. We are just de­lighted,” Su­per­in­ten­dent Robert Me­hal­ick said. “You can’t put a price on school safety.”

The fund­ing will help Val­ley View hire an ad­di­tional of­fi­cer, so one of­fi­cer is sta­tioned at each of the dis­trict’s schools.

“They’re not just here if some­thing goes wrong,” Val­ley View Su­per­in­ten­dent Rose Min­niti, ED.D., said. “They’re here to build re­la­tion­ships with kids.”

Three other area schools re­ceived fund­ing for school po­lice of­fi­cers: Wal­len­pau­pack Area, $40,000; Elk Lake, $30,580; and Western Wayne, $39,999. For­est City Re­gional re­ceived $32,034 for a school re­source of­fi­cer and $20,000 to es­tab­lish and im­ple­ment pro­grams to pre­vent and re­duce vi­o­lent in­ci­dents.

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