Extra security to be placed at school districts in Franklin County, Pa.

December 16, 2012|From staff reports

School districts in Franklin County, Pa., are taking measures to make students feel safer when they return to classes today in the wake of Friday’s shooting that killed 20 students in Connecticut.

According to a phone message to parents in the Chambersburg Area School District, extra security will be in place at all of the district’s schools this week.

Chambersburg police will be conducting additional patrols around the borough’s elementary schools, Chambersburg Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill said in an email that cited a conversation he had with Police Chief David Arnold.

“We do not anticipate any trouble tomorrow,” Stonehill said. “Our community will obviously respond with grief and compassion to these events.”

Greencastle-Antrim School District Superintendent C. Gregory Hoover said he asked his staff and administrators to be visible and reassure students and parents that safety procedures are in place.

“Unfortunately, this is a grim reminder to review those procedures,” Hoover said in a phone interview.

Greencastle Police Chief John Phillippy talked to school officials over the weekend about security measures, he said.

The Greencastle schools will observe a moment of silence at 9 a.m., Hoover said.

“The tough part for us, for any educator, particularly concerning elementary kids, is what do you talk about, what do you not talk about,” he said.

Hoover said teachers will be addressing individual questions as they arise.

The best thing parents can do if they choose to talk about the situation with children is tell them educators will work their hardest to keep them safe, he said.

In the Tuscarora School District, Superintendent Rebecca Erb said district officials want to remind parents that the safety of their children is a top priority.

“I want to assure you ... that the Tuscarora School District will continue to enforce security measures and even re-evaluate our security (as we do on a regular basis) to make sure we are doing all that’s reasonably possible to keep our children safe,” Erb wrote on the school district’s website.

Erb wrote that “counselors ... will be on hand in all of our schools next week, and we encourage any students, staff or parents who would like to talk to someone to please reach out to our schools for help.”

The Tuscarora School District in southern Franklin County serves students in the Borough of Mercersburg and surrounding townships.

Waynesboro Area School District’s superintendent and assistant superintendent posted a message online, saying the school community joins the nation in mourning the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“We take our responsibility for students very seriously, and their safety and security is our top priority. ... We ask you to remain vigilant at all times and, if something doesn’t seem right, don’t hesitate to say something,” Waynesboro’s superintendents wrote at

The district continually reviews its safety and security procedures, and makes adjustments as necessary, Superintendent Sherian Diller and Assistant Superintendent Wendy Royer wrote.

“We can assure you that the WASD is doing everything we can to make sure that everyone — students, educators and parents — are kept safe in our school environments,” they wrote.

Berkeley County (W.Va.) Schools released a statement Friday saying that the school district has “security plans in place, including access security systems, staff training and student emergency drills. We work closely with local law enforcement and emergency responders.”

Herald-Mail staff members Jennifer Fitch and Bill Kohler contributed to ths story.

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