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2 school districts receive safety equipment grants

Broad Street Elementary School. File Photo.

Butler Area School District and Karns City Area School District have been awarded grants to improve school safety through the state Department of Education.

The department of education announced Jan. 21 that 78 local education agencies, or LEAs, throughout the state received grants of up to $25,000 to purchase equipment meant to increase school safety. In total, the department distributed about $1.74 million.

The Butler Area School District is getting about $20,000, which superintendent Brian White said will be used to install cameras and access control systems at Broad Street Elementary School.

Karns City is to receive about $21,000, which superintendent Eric Ritzert said will be used to reimburse the school for a new camera system server installed last summer, and to buy new vapor detectors, which will be installed at Karns City Area Jr./Sr. High School.

“It allows us to take care of both of those items,” Ritzert said. “The hardware we invested in will take care of our two elementary schools and our secondary building.”

Ritzert said the high school will have a total of 12 HALO vapor detectors once the new ones are installed. He said some students have been inhaling “vapes” on school grounds, which he hopes the detectors will curb.

“The vapor detection system is almost a need,” Ritzert said. “Students today don't realize the dangers of that. They think its a lesser version of smoking cigarettes. The detectors will help minimize (vaping).”

The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office for Safe Schools offers four types of targeted safety grants, including the safety equipment grant, a school police officer grant, a school resource officer grant and a general program grant.