A Focus on School Safety
THROOP — It was a meeting centered around safety and fueled by fear at Mid Valley High School. Representatives from several police departments, school districts and communities got together to discuss what they can do to make schools safer, all just months after seeing the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
“Can we say 100 percent that every child will be safe? We can’t. We can never guarantee that, however, we can make a true effort to be vigilant,” said Archbald Police Chief Tim Trently.
State leaders are working on a bill that would put an armed resource officer in every elementary school across Pennsylvania. But in Lackawanna County, a newly-formed group called C.L.A.S.S. – Children’s Lives and Safer Schools – is also working to bring about change in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Angie Scalzo runs a day care and is active with the group.
“We`re looking at everything, for instance ways that we can improve safety now without spending much money, things that we can do immediately, not down the road,” said Scalzo.
Many school administrators say the best thing about meetings like the one here at Mid Valley High School is that they can exchange ideas with one another, making our schools a bit safer.
“I think the biggest thing that stood out is that we`re all in the same boat. We`re all looking to see what we can do to see that our children are safe and we`re all looking for help,” said Mid Valley High School Principal Chad Vinansky.
Many schools have already made security changes since Sandy Hook and we’ve seen many new protocols in action, every thing from searching students to evacuating buildings as a precaution.
“Being a mom and attending some functions here at the school, I`ve seen changes that have happened within our own district and they`re all changes for the good,” said mom Mary Ruth Tanner.
And many parents believe conversations like these at Mid Valley are part of the bigger solution.
“If we can save one child through awareness and through better safety measures, we`ll have done our job,” said Scalzo.
C.L.A.S.S., the Children’s Lives and Safer Schools group says it is still getting organized, but members plan to meet about once a month in an effort to find ways to better protect students.