Lehigh Valley

ASD holds community forum on school safety

Parents and faculty brainstorm security ideas.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Calls for change rang out in the Dieruff High School auditorium at an open forum on the hot button issue of school safety Wednesday night.

“I don’t feel the schools are taking safety as serious as they should, I think things should be done and I came here for more answers," said Christine Giandomenico, a parent in the Allentown School District.

Parents, teachers and staff split up into eight different groups to discuss and answer questions about current security policies and areas that need improvements.

“They don’t wear their IDs so how do we know they are truly a student who belongs in our school?” said a district nurse.

Facilitated by a district principal, the groups wrote down key points and answers to questions regarding school safety.

Some common requests included new technology to improve security and better communication following school threats.

Allentown School District Superintendent Thomas Parker says the recent tragedy at a Florida high school is prompting the district to review all current safety protocols, assess security staffing levels and add new programs like an anonymous tip line for students to report threats without fear of retaliation all while working alongside the Allentown Police Department.

“It’s ok to tell if you know information and that’s the key to safety," said Chief Glen Dorney with the Allentown Police Department.

As school and community leaders vow to continue to discuss possible changes, some parents are demanding action for their students.

“She’s scared to go everyday so we've got to do something now," said parent Lisa Kassis.

The groups came back together after about an hour and compared notes, presenting them to the audience which included school board members, Allentown police officers and even local FBI agents.

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