After Central York School District closures, town meeting brings community together

Written by Brett Sholtis/WITF News | Mar 1, 2018 6:26 AM

Parents and students in the Central York School District wait in line to ask questions to District Superintendent Michael Snell, Springettsbury Township Police Chief Daniel Stump, District Attorney Dave Sunday and other officials. (Brett Sholtis/WITF News)

(Springettsbury Township) -- Central York's high school auditorium was packed Wednesday night with concerned parents who called on district officials to increase mental health resources and school security personnel.

The town meeting comes one week after an online threat led the district to cancel class for three days. It also comes two weeks after the Parkland, Florida school shooting that killed 17 people. 

Anne Summer is one of many parents in the district calling for more funding for security and mental health services. She says, in a school district of 5,800 students, there should be more than two social workers and one guidance counselor providing mental health services. "We can afford for all the students to have an electronic device, I think all the students need mental health access."

School District Superintendent Michael Snell says that's one of many approaches the school board is discussing. Others include hiring more security personnel, and installing metal detectors. Snell says the school has already reviewed its access points and updated some policies. 


Central York High School student Jasmin Druck, 14, told the crowd that she often feels scared at school amid mass shootings like the one in Parkland, Florida Feb. 14 that killed 17 people. (Brett Sholtis/WITF News)

Matthew Grimes, who has two children in school, says he wants the district to keep its current policy that bars teachers from carrying guns. 

Snell says that's a policy he plans to keep, regardless of whether current legislation passes that would make it easier for school districts to implement policies for teachers to carry firearms.

Northern York Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel echoed Snell's sentiment, saying that, while it's not his call to decide a school district's policy, added firearms inside the school could cause more problems than they solve. 


Springettsbury Township police stand outside Central York High School as the public gathers for a meeting on school security. (Brett Sholtis/WITF News)

Cora Kelly, a Central York graduate who has a son in high school, says parents need to do more as well. "You tell your kids 'no,' you teach them to be leaders, and you hold them accountable because that's what brings integrity about the kids."

Though officials listed few definitive changes, the town meeting gave the community a chance to come together following last week's threat. Before leaving, several community residents thanked the district for deciding to close schools until police investigated the online threats. 

Meanwhile York County District Attorney Dave Sunday encourages parents to return to the auditorium March 15 for a presentation on social media and the law. 

Snell says the public's suggestions will be considered at an upcoming board meeting.


Central York High School. (Brett Sholtis/WITF News)

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