Ringgold enhances school security with metal detectors

August 21, 2014
Ringgold High School Principal Jason Minniti discusses new metal detectors the students will pass though when entering the building. - Scott Beveridge / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

NEW EAGLE – Ringgold School District is tightening security by requiring students to pass through metal detectors when classes resume next week at its high school and middle school.

Students who arrive late to the high school in Carroll Township will also be required to enter the building through a new security lobby where office workers will be visible to them through a protective glass window.

“You need to do preventative things,” Ringgold business manager Randy Skrinjorich said Thursday, a day after Ringgold directors approved a metal detection system policy at a board meeting in New Eagle.

Nothing in particular involving security prompted the school district to purchase the metal detectors, Ringgold Superintendent Karen Polkabla said.

Skrinjorich said unfortunate news over the years about fatal shootings at schools is the motivation behind the security changes. Ringgold, like many districts, employed armed police officers and stationed them at building entrances following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut in December 2012.

Ringgold is believed to be the first school district in Washington County to install metal detectors in buildings, a spokesman for Intermediate Unit 1 said. The machines also are being installed at Ringgold Middle School in Finleyville.

“You have to have a safe environment,” Skrinjorich said.

Ringgold High School Principal Jason Minitti said there will be a learning curve as administrators work with school police to get students into the building without creating long lines at entrances.

He said detectors will be placed at several doors to “help with the backlog.”

The main entrances to the building also are being expanded to create more indoor space for students waiting in lines.

The work is included in nearly $2 million in improvements to the high school that opened in 1979. Students also will find new restrooms and lockers when classes resume Aug. 28.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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