Ellwood City School District voted unanimously on Thursday to implement armed security guards to each of their district schools beginning in a matter of weeks.
According to the district superintendent Frank Aloi, they will have an armed security guard at each of their four schools, one at Lincoln High School and one at Perry, Hartman and North Side elementary schools, as part of an increase in their school security and safety.
Aloi said they hope to have the security guards make their presence in the schools within two to three weeks.
The group providing the security service, OSA Global, is out of New Castle, with their headquarters centered in Pittsburgh. OSA Global also has a location in Bradenton, Fla., and provides security for the Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training and The Bradenton Marauders.
OSA Global, according to their website: “employ some of the most highly trained and dedicated officers in our field and pride ourselves on the continuance of training of all employees.” Their security officers work at schools, hotels, concerts, amusement parks, etc.
Aloi said that the security guards will cost the district $61,200 for the remainder of this school year — he did not comment on what the total school year will cost the district.
According to a 2010 news story with the Tribune-Review, a school district in Pittsburgh is paying nearly $450,000 a year to provide security officers using OSA Global.
The Penn Hills School District changed their security guard company to OSA Global because they wanted to bring in “higher caliber” security officers, but they are paying for the better quality. The district pays OSA Global $15.91 an hour for security guards, which is much higher than the previous $8 an hour they paid the previous company.
Ellwood City is not alone in this recent addition of security. Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, school districts across the nation are implementing better security measures.
In fact, Shenango School District is incorporating their local police station into the daily school schedule. According to a report in the New Castle News, Shenango Township police officers will provide a visible presence in both buildings throughout the school day.
At Ellwood City, the borough police are in the process of working with school officials to improve their preparedness for any possible occurrence in the future.
Ellwood City Police Chief Mark Romutis said that he is hoping to meet with Ellwood school administrators in order to conduct police drills within the schools. He said that his officers need to be prepared at all times.