Back in October, Brian Norris asked that Board Meetings be broadcast and archived on the internet. Meeting Minutes provide only a summary of what is said, and sometimes things get left out because it is not a transcript. He certainly deserves a thumbs-up for getting this to happen.
Many people have questions about the Safety Grant, how long the Board has been discussing it, and the requirements. The March 17, 2014 Octorara School Board Meeting includes Hank Oleyniczak’s presentation about the grant to the Board. It was the last Meeting of the Board prior to the vote this past Monday.
The presentation begins about 19 minutes into the video. The audio is low, but one can hear the presentation and the conversation.
Mr Oleyniczak begins his presentation with a history of School Safety at Octorara since Sandy Hook, and since he was appointed to the Board. He states, that while a lot had been done and discussed, this was the first time “this concept” (i.e. armed security) was being discussed by the whole Board.
Mr. Oleyniczak goes on to explain that the District had the opportunity to apply for a grant for both a Police Officer or School Resource Officer. However, the specific grant received was for a Police Officer.
The requirements of that grant required that the person be an Independent Contractor who was a retired Police Officer or Military, and who was properly and currently certified. Additionally, to give this Independent Contract his/her authority to act as a Police Officer, the District would be required (not as a condition of the grant but by law) to petition the court to create the Octorara Area School District Police Department.
Mr. Oleyniczak also goes into detail about why he believes Highland and West Fallowfield Townships has serious issues with inadequate police coverage and manpower… an issue I would presume he would agree affects not just the School District, but the whole community. Child abductions, murders, stabbings, and other violent crimes are far more likely in the greater community than within the schools.
After the presentation, there was a Board discussion, visitors’ comments, and then more Board discussion. About 2 hours, 31 minutes into the meeting I state we need to make sure we are not buying a false sense of security. Sandy Hook was over in 4 minutes, but it takes a guard 5 minutes to get across our campus. If we are going to hire security personnel for that kind of indecent, then we need to do it right or all we are dong is wasting money. While I don’t necessary agree Armed Security is the right thing, and adds an element of risk and danger to the schools greater than the likelihood of an incident, one guard will not be able to protect the kids against a heavily armed active shooter.
Also, for those interested in knowing what was and was not said, before and after the Safety Grant vote at the April 14th Octorara Area Board Work Session Meeting, you can click HERE.