BASD hires security officer to patrol the district

School+security+officer+Jeff+Hanna+is+a+1979+graduate+of+Bellwood-Antis.

Olivia Stetter

School security officer Jeff Hanna is a 1979 graduate of Bellwood-Antis.

Olivia Stetter, Staff Writer

The Bellwood-Antis School Board recently hired a retired Pennsylvania State Police trooper to serve as the district’s school security officer.

Jeffery Hanna, a 1979 B-A graduate, was approved by the board at an April meeting, and Superintendent Dr. Thomas McInroy is hoping the move is just one more step towards making B-A the safest learning environment possible.

My first goal is safety of the school and the kids, but my second goal is to build a relationship between myself and the students and faculty.”

— Officer Hanna

“My hope is that as a school and a community we can come together and work together just to keep each other safe,” said Dr.  McInroy.

Officer Hanna met with middle and high school teachers at a faculty meeting on April 18, where it was explained that he is not a disciplinarian. Officer Hanna said he was here to be a student centered security guard, and he has spent much of his time trying to get to know young people in the district.

“My first goal is safety of the school and the kids, but my second goal is to build a relationship between myself and the students and faculty, and to become a positive impact in school instead of a negative, which you would think would come along with this job. I want to make it a positive experience for everyone,” Officer Hanna said.

Officer Hanna wasn’t hired in response to any one event, although Dr. McInroy said B-A is not immune from issues that would require a school security officer.

“Since December we have expelled three kids. So there is a fundamental shift in behavior that has ramped up that leaves us wondering what to do,” said Dr. Thomas McInroy. “We also have to keep in mind 98% of the kids are good kids that just mess up sometimes; the other 2% is serious. It’s gone from just a nuisance to is this real? And it seems to be a nationwide trend.”

Dr. McInroy said before hiring a security guard the district first conducted a needs assessment. Pennsylvania state police officer Jeffrey Petucci went around the school and checked from top to bottom, from how bright the lights are in the parking lot to security cameras. Officer Petucci gave the district a long list of recommendations for how the school can better itself.

“A lot of the recommendations were simple and have already been done,” said Dr. McInroy.

The priority list is based on safety, and the school has been addressing concerns from the list for about three years.

That’s one of the reasons the district acted now in hiring a security officer. Dr. McInroy has been talking to Officer  Hanna for two years. Officer Hanna was in the United States Air Force for many years in the security branch. Later, he became a state trooper in 1988 and retired in 2009.

Officer Hanna is just one part of a bigger picture that is going to help keep the school safer. He will have a series of things that he is required to check, but Dr. McInroy would like him to also get to know the students. He will be spending time  patrolling the elementary, middle and high school, although he will not be at the same places at the same times every day.