The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Board hires third security guard for Daniel Boone High School


By Denise Larive, For Digital First Media

Friday, March 2, 2018

Daniel Boone School Board members unanimously agreed on Feb. 26 to hire a third, full-time, unarmed security guard for the high school at an annual salary of $37,000.

The district’s security guards are contracted through M & G Security in Wernersville.

Board President David Rathgeb said the high school had three guards until 2½ years ago, when one was eliminated for budgetary reasons.

District Superintendent James P. Harris said a number of parents have contacted him since the school shooting on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Fla.

They were inquiring about the district’s security measures.

“There is an ad-hoc security meeting that meets occasionally, and the district works with the Amity Police Department and the state police,” said Harris.

He said the district participated with Amity Police in an “active shooter” training on Feb. 8 at the Daniel Boone Middle School in Douglassville.

“The district had a security audit last year. Locks, lighting, and security cameras have been upgraded, M & G enhanced background checks, and the district has a mental health group (SAM — Service Access Management),” said Harris.

“The staff meets with students entering the building to get the mood of the day and reach out to them (if there is a concern),” said Harris, adding, “We are proactive and not reactive.”

He said district buildings don’t have metal detectors or armed guards.

“We’re not a violent community,” Harris said. “It’s a safe community here, and we work with parents, teachers, and staff to be proactive and not reactive.”

Perry Templin of Union Township, a member of the local Crime Watch program, urged residents to write letters to the White House requesting funds in order to increase schools’ security.

“We need a wall for these students before any other wall,” Templin said, adding, “We need to give these schools (financial) help for security.”

In other business, the l board animously approved the following policy: public correspondence to the board will no longer be read aloud by a board member at school board meetings.

In the future, the board secretary will acknowledge receipt of correspondence and its author, and the correspondence will then be included in the board’s meeting minutes.

The vote came two weeks after board Secretary Michael D. Wolfe said the board had received correspondence from former board member Richard Martino.

“If they aren’t here to speak, I don’t think the letter should be read,” board member Aaron Durso said on Feb. 12, adding that it sets a precedence for reading every email sent to board members.

“What if we are flooded with emails? We would be here all night,” said Durso.

Wolfe said the board has always read correspondence.

“We want people to tell it to us,” said member Jeff Scott, adding, “It’s so easy to write emails and send it off.”