Scott votes for armed officer at school

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After an executive session of more than a hour, Scott commissioners voted unanimously to provide an armed school resource police officer at the Chartiers Valley Intermediate Center on Swallow Hill Road.

School officials were quick to issue an approving response on the district's website after the Dec. 27 commissioners' vote.

According to the message from superintendent Brian White, "Since we created our Strategic Plan in the fall of 2010, Chartiers Valley School District has been working to implement a school resource officer program at the High School/Middle School. More recently, we expanded this initiative to include all of our buildings."

He went on to say that a police presence provides role models, improves the learning environment and can provide confidential counseling for students.

Commissioner David Jason noted that the district has offered to cover most of the costs for the officer at least for the first year, estimated at $80,000, but that could change in subsequent years if the program continues and police salaries rise.

"We'll work it out," Mr. Jason stated confidently.

But Commissioner David Calabria was concerned about the welfare of the students at Our Lady of Grace School, also in Scott. The school houses students from kindergarten through 8th grade. "That's in our township, too," he said. "I don't want it left out in the cold."

He went on to say that he wants officials to meet with the school director at Our Lady of Grace about placing a resource officer at that site.

Commissioner Bill Wells, who pointed out that a second-year police officer in Scott makes $98,000 with benefits, was concerned about paying for the officer. "I think it's up to the school district to fund this," Mr. Wells said, adding Scott would send an experienced officer to the school and hire a newcomer to work in the township.

Chartiers Valley comprises Bridgeville, Collier, Heidelberg and Scott. The district's primary, middle and high schools are in Collier. The district has requested that Collier consider placing one police resource officer at the middle and high schools and another at the primary school.

education - neigh_south

Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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