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No Easy Answers on Easton School Safety

City Council meets with community, education leaders to discuss making schools safer.

If you've dropped your kids off at one of Easton's three elementary schools recently, you might have seen a police officer on patrol outside or even walking the halls.

That's a recent change inspired by the Sandy Hook school shooting, Lt. John Remaley told City Council's public safety committee Tuesday night as it met with community leaders to discuss making Easton's kids safer.

Councilman Jeffrey Warren, who heads the committee, said the meeting was held in response to both Sandy Hook and from a 2012 in which Easton recorded six violent deaths.

He said that although it's an issue that won't be solved with one meeting, it's important to get people talking.

“From discussions come solutions," he said. "It may not be a solution right off the bat.”

The board heard from Louis Coxe, chief of police for the Easton Area School District, who said the district is planning a walk-through of its schools with local police departments, as well as looking at security upgrades.

“Of course, we’re considering cameras," Coxe said. "We’re considering different access ways to get into the schools, swipe cards, stuff like that.”

The discussion hit on a wide range of topics: mental health, access to guns, mentorship and better neighborhoods.

"Many neighborhoods are bankrupt of role models," Mayor Sal Panto said. "They’re just not there. If we can bring in working families, that’s going to change neighborhoods, one block at a time.”

To that end, he said the city will transition from just rehabbing homes to actually building some. He hopes to begin constructing three new ones on vacant lots in the West Ward this year.

As for the school safety discussion, look for it to come up again soon. Panto said a large community meeting has been planned for sometime in late February or early March at Easton Area High School.

Jonathan Gerard January 23, 2013 at 01:43 PM
There is no problem so why is a "solution" so "difficult"? Do nothing. Or, rather, use common sense vigilance. Lock the doors and only let people in via buzzer. No one seems to have noted that there has been no problem of security in our community. If the problem is, "How deal with a totally crazy suicidal guy with an assault gun?" then the answer lies not at the entrance to a school but at the point where he got the gun, or where he became crazy.
Jessica R. Dreistadt January 23, 2013 at 03:46 PM
I agree, J. G. I'm really confused about this whole thing. If this is a response to the Sandy Hook shooting, which happened in an affluent community, why are the three poorest elementary schools being targeted? I think this 'solution' further marginalizes poor people and criminalizes poverty.

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