Suspended Police Chief Reports For Duty At Other Job

A controversial police chief under suspension for online videos which show him firing off automatic weapons showed up for his other job tonight.

Gilberton Chief Mark Kessler attended tonight’s North Schuylkill School District School Board Meeting.

It was a subdued committee workshop meeting for the school board here at the North Schuylkill School District near Ashland.

Among the members suspended Gilberton Police Chief Mark Kessler, who is surrounded in controversy.

He took his seat for business as usual.

“I think we functioned very well tonight as a school board and as you know I`m a school board official and I`m here to do my job and I`m here for the children, I`m not here for any other reasons but that,” said Kessler.

It`s a far cry from the last public meeting Kessler attended.

An angry crowd of Kessler supporters and opponents came out to the Gilberton Borough Council meeting on July 31st when Kessler was given a 30 day suspension without pay.

The punishment was in response to a YouTube video posted by Kessler that showed him cursing and firing off fully automatic weapons.

Anticipating a potential repeat of that volatile situation, the district had several police officers at the meeting.

“We wanted to make sure that everybody was protected,” said Superintendent Andrew Smarkanic. “Obviously we want to be on the proactive side rather than the reactive side and that`s what the presence was this evening.”

Those who attended the meeting had to pass through a metal detector to get inside the cafeteria where the meeting was held but the district says that is not related to Kessler.

Heightening security is something the district has been planning to do since the mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Connecticut last December.

“I think all school districts have to take precautions with these days what happened in Sandy Hook Elementary we want to make sure that our students are safe, we want to make sure our staff is safe,” said Smarkanic.

Neither the school board nor the superintendent would comment on Mark Kessler or his video at the meeting, however in a previous response, the board says the comments he made are his and his alone.

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