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Thanks, businesses that back education: Editorial

Posted 6/6/18

Phoenix Contact, and the president of its U.S. operations, Jack Nehlig, deserve a great deal of credit for their support of safety efforts for the Middletown Area School District.

Nehlig decided …

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Thanks, businesses that back education: Editorial

Posted

Phoenix Contact, and the president of its U.S. operations, Jack Nehlig, deserve a great deal of credit for their support of safety efforts for the Middletown Area School District.

Nehlig decided “enough is enough” when he heard about the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed at a school. He talked to the owners of the company in Germany and they agreed to provide financial support in the six-figure range for MASD, to be used for safety and security enhancements.

Located on Fulling Mill Road in Lower Swatara Township, Phoenix Contact USA has more than 550 employees, many of whom have children in the district.

The company and Nehlig didn’t undertake this donation for good publicity. In fact, the identity remained anonymous for several months until media inquiries spurred Superintendent Lori Suski to see if the donor would be OK with their identity being revealed.

The donation is quite generous; Nehlig left the door open for it to be more than the low six-figure range.

The school board recently hired a private consulting firm to do a “risk and vulnerability assessment” of all five Middletown Area School District schools, at a cost of $11,900. The district received a check from Phoenix Contact USA covering the entire amount.

Suski also told the Press & Journal that for at least the last 18 years Phoenix Contact has sponsored an annual Christmas party for more than 100 underprivileged elementary school students.

They are strong supporters of the district. And while the amount that they are donating rightfully makes headlines, there are many businesses in the community that do their part to support area school districts.

Another difference in the Phoenix Contact donation, of course, is the purpose behind it.

Decades ago, businesses often gave to support extras that districts might want to do but didn’t quite have the money.

The Phoenix Contact donation is a life-and-death issue, literally.

We aren’t sure what we expect the MASD school safety studies to find. After all, the high school is brand new, so we hope some safety issues were addressed when it was built.

Will future plans call for metal detectors at all the schools? Or maybe at just the high school and middle school? Is that the tone we want our schools to have? Would they even be effective?

We will wait and see where the school board wants to go with the recommendations.

But for now, we want to say thank you to Phoenix Contact, and to all the local businesses large and small who support education. While they might not always be recognized, their efforts make a difference.