Use of metal detectors at high school is debated
February 19. 2013 1:09AM
Before the meeting began, the board held a moment of silence in honor of 18-year-old Dallas High School student Thomas Lynch, of Harveys Lake, who died in a car accident early Monday morning.
Board President Catherine Wega said Lynch was an Eagle Scout who had already enlisted in the U.S. military, and planned to attend basic training in Fort Benning, Ga.
‚??He leaves a space in everyone‚??s heart‚?Ľ,‚?Ě said Wega.
During the meeting, parents and students discussed the metal detectors at Dallas High School, which have been in use since Feb. 6.
Principal Jeffrey Shaffer said the system is randomized - all students walk through the detection system when entering the new building, but only some are scanned.
Paul Paci, of Dallas, whose daughter attends the school, said he disagrees with the notion that all students should have to pass through the metal detector because of the ‚??poor choices‚?Ě of other students.
‚??I don‚??t believe good children should be treated as criminals,‚?Ě he said.
He said students who wish to commit harm on others will find a way to get a weapon into the school regardless of metal detectors. Paci feels the detectors are a violation of students‚?? constitutional rights.
Paci also said administrators and teachers should know who the troublemakers are, and those students should be the only ones scanned.
Board member Maureen Matiska said the district cannot target specific students, and the system has to be random to be effective.
‚??Probably any night you turn the T.V. on, and you look at crime in our area, and someone‚??s being paraded out, and they‚??re interviewing the neighbors and the neighbors are saying, ‚??I can‚??t believe it ‚?? we lived next door to them for 10 years and we had no idea,‚??‚?Ě said Wega. ‚??We are doing the best we can.‚?Ě
Board member Colleen Slocum said because of incidents such as the Columbine High School shooting in which two students killed 12 students and one teacher and injured nearly two dozen others in April 1999, schools need to be prepared to keep students and faculty safe.
‚??This is our new normal,‚?Ě she said.
Paci‚??s daughter, Amanda, said the metal detectors are time-consuming, and don‚??t leave her enough time before class to finish her homework. She said she‚??s unable to complete homework at home due to a part-time job.
Senior Gavin Carolan, of Dallas, created T-shirts in protest of the metal detectors, but said the administration had banned them on Monday. He said the T-shirts are bright orange and read ‚??PA Department of Corrections, Dallas High School, Inmate Number 570.‚?Ě
Carolan researched case law and deemed the detectors and banning students‚?? protests are both unconstitutional.
Shaffer said he saw the shirts as a disruption to the school‚??s learning environment.
Amanda Paci also said she didn‚??t feel safe at the school because faculty, staff and visitors are not scanned for weapons.
‚??According to the school, I‚??m the only threat,‚?Ě she said.
Shaffer said there are seven or eight staff members who can operate the detectors, and scanning every visitor would be ‚??impossible‚?Ě right now.
He also said while most students ‚??are not jumping for joy‚?Ě over the metal detectors, Carolan and Paci have been the most outspoken on the issue.
‚??Most students understand why we need it,‚?Ě he said.
Parent Chris Oremus, of Franklin Township, expressed concerns to the board about traffic going in and out of the campus from Hildebrandt Road. He said a visibility problem and reckless drivers are reasons why he sees near-accidents ‚??almost every single day.‚?Ě
Board member Bruce Goeringer agreed and said there should be a police officer in the area to deter drivers from speeding in that area.
‚?Ę Appointed high school assistant football coaches Bob Roper and Craig Haywood with stipends of $3,976 each. A third assistant position will be announced at a later date.
The board also appointed middle school assistant-in-charge of football Bill Perkarovsky with a stipend of $3,295, middle school assistant Chris Plaviak with a stipend of $2,725 and volunteer high school football assistants Stephen Salavantis and John Perkarovsky.
Another middle school football assistant position will be announced.
‚?Ę Approved the following resignations: Doris Lewis, high school hall monitor; Michael Cherinka Jr., as Business, Computers and Information Technology chairperson; William Wagner, high school yearbook advisor; Marjorie Adams, assistant-in-charge of middle school track; Michael Labaugh, head high school boys‚?? volleyball coach; Ashley Barker, Wycallis Elementary classroom aide; and Laura Marriggi, Wycallis Elementary classroom aide.
‚?Ę Appointed Meredith Karuza as a Wycallis Elementary classroom aide at a rate of $8.10 per hour.
‚?Ę Appointed the following coaches: Paul Darling as assistant high school girls basketball coach with a stipend of $3,295, Lauren Gonzales as high school dance team advisor with a stipend of $653 and Karen Bove as seventh grade girls basketball coach with a stipend of $664.
‚?Ę Approved payment of $5,342.28 to Dick Blick for pottery wheels in the high school art department.
‚?Ę Approved a payment of $3,237.98 to Home Depot for two drop-in electric cooking ranges for the high school culinary arts department.
‚?Ę Appointed the following advisors: Dan Nestorick as high school yearbook advisor with a stipend of $3,266 and Shawn Mullen as volunteer assistant theater advisor.
‚?Ę The next Dallas School Board meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 5 in the administration building.