Address safety in wake of Sandy Hook shootings; parents push for JROTC funding
By Kyle Corrazza, Staff Writer, The Times
CALN – The Coatesville Area School Board passed measures to step up security in all schools at its meeting Tuesday night. Board members said they found the actions necessary in light of last month’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Board President J. Neil Campbell did not disclose the details of the plan, as he said he did not want to compromise their implementation. He did say that efforts would be multi-faceted, addressing a range of issues.
“We had a whole myriad of things approved,” said Campbell. “It’s a very good, coherent plan that will go in effect immediately.”
The motion approved by the board specifically lists hiring additional security personnel for the remainder of the school year.
“All the districts in Chester County have addressed the issue,” Campbell said.
Board Superintendent Richard W. Como said that plans were initially discussed in an audit of the district. As the administration carried out the audit, something they do regularly to ensure effective learning environments, security measures became their top priority.
“We looked over every school; it’s rough dealing with old buildings and new buildings,” said Como.
In other topics at the meeting, Coatesville Area High School’s AFJROTC program was parents’ main concern during public comment. The district could not afford to run the program this year, but student and parent fundraising brought in enough money to keep it afloat.
Jeffrey Jackson said that the district could have charged Lincoln University more than one dollar a year to lease the Gordon Facility and that such income could help offset the costs of keeping ROTC.
Another parent, Lisa Draper, said that ROTC has played a major role in shaping her son’s life. Her son, Paul Draper, was present, as he is the student school board representative for the junior class.
“ROTC was that intangible thing that drew my child to something greater than himself and out of his shell,” she said.
She insisted that ROTC should not be on the chopping block, comparing lessons learned in the program to the lessons learned by student-athletes while on a sports team.
As per policy, the board acknowledged but did not comment on the parents’ concerns, which may be discussed at a future meeting.