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Middletown Area School District safety report won’t be fully made public

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 9/5/18

The Middletown Area School District has received the results of a risk and vulnerability assessment but won’t release the complete report publicly.

During the Aug. 21 school board meeting, …

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Middletown Area School District safety report won’t be fully made public

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The Middletown Area School District has received the results of a risk and vulnerability assessment but won’t release the complete report publicly.

During the Aug. 21 school board meeting, President Linda Mehaffie said that the board met in an executive session that day “to review the confidential results of the risk and vulnerability assessment” conducted with Vulnerability Solutions Group LLC.

In an email after the meeting, MASD Superintendent Lori Suski said that in June, legislation became effective that allowed school boards to meet in executive session to discuss safety and security.

If made public, security information could compromise school safety efforts and put students in harm’s way, state Sen. Joe Scarnati said when the bill was debated in the spring.

“Steps taken to safeguard students, teachers, and school officials against threats from the outside are important measures of responsibility and often times should be protected from someone who may use this knowledge to cause harm,” the Brockway Republican said.

According to Suski, via email: “The board and administration are currently reading the reports in their entirety so that recommendations for enhanced security can be discussed and decisions made on how best to utilize district and outside financial resources to further enhance security in our school buildings.”

One excerpt that she did share:

“Middletown Area School District can and should take great pride in the safety and security measures and culture present throughout the district. … Through sound administrative policies, the determined efforts of staff members, and the utilization of design and technologies, MASD has achieved an overall school security posture well beyond most school districts of its size.”

The assessment included identifying potential threats at buildings, asking questions of district officials, and touring schools both while in session and before and after.

The assessment was funded by Phoenix Contact, which reached out to district leaders following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were killed during the school shooting.

The company offered the district financial assistance to make any necessary safety and security improvements. In May, President of Phoenix Contact USA Jack Nehlig told the Press & Journal that they would provide funding of at least $100,000.

Suski said MASD is working with Vulnerability Solutions Group to pull excerpts from the report to share that wouldn’t compromise security, but also assure district parents and community members that “the company did indeed perform the assessments and that next steps are forthcoming.”