February 18, 2018
As I have shared in prior communications, school safety is a priority and commitment for the school district. No one plan is perfect, but we are going to continue to make safety and security at our schools a priority. I appreciate the support and many suggestions that have been provided by employees and community members. As we move forward, I will keep those ideas in consideration.
At this time, I have not received any additional information regarding the threat made on Friday other than what I have previously shared. However, in consultation with the school board over the weekend our solicitor, Mr. Tom King, has been authorized to seek an injunction to bar the individual involved from ever coming on any of our campuses or attending any event at Butler Area School District. Additionally, we will request reimbursement for all costs related to the threat that was made.
The Butler Area School District has a history of making school safety a top priority. As you are most likely aware, the Butler Area School District employs 19 school police officers, all of whom are armed and are retired state police officers. Each day all students in grades 4-12 go through a metal detector and their bags are searched. These are just a few of the many things we are doing to help ensure our schools are safe for our students and staff.
One of the unique challenges for Butler Area Senior High School is that it is an open campus, meaning students walk outside to multiple buildings to attend classes. Additionally, vehicles move freely on Campus Lane between New Castle Road and Fairground Hill Road.
Obviously times have changed since the construction of the Senior High School in the 1950s. How to make the Senior High School a secure and closed facility has been an ongoing conversation. However, this is a topic for long term facility planning and not a short term option.
Therefore, I have decided to look at the entire campus holistically. I have directed our security posture at the Senior High School be changed beginning on Monday, February 19. Specifically we will be “closing” the campus immediately after student arrival (7:36 a.m.). One of our school police officers will be stationed at each entrance. All non district vehicles will be stopped at both entrances and asked for identification and the purpose of their visit to the campus. Vehicles will no longer be permitted to use Campus Lane as a route between New Castle Road and Fairground Hill Road. Parents will still be able to pick students, but they will be stopped and asked to identify themselves.
I apologize for the inconvenience that this may cause, but our priority has to be the safety of our students. Please be patient and flexible with us as this is implemented. If you have an appointment or student pick up at the high school please allow for extra time.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D