Liberty School District began employing a security guard during school hours on Monday to increase safety


Staff report

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The Liberty Board of Education has contracted with the Liberty Police Department to employ a security guard in the school district during school hours.

Officers with the department can be hired for off-duty employment at a rate of $23 an hour, said police Chief Richard Tisone. He said officers will sign up for shifts, so there will be different officers at the school district throughout the week.

“We are more than happy to be there, in these times we are going through right now, giving parents peace of mind. Knowing there’s an armed officer present will ease some fears,” Tisone said.

The security guard started Monday.

Treasurer Bradley Panak said employing a guard will cost about $40,000 annually, which will come out of the school district’s general fund.

The board has been discussing hiring a security guard since last summer, said Superintendent Joseph Nohra.

The employment comes at a time where several school districts throughout the Mahoning Valley have begun cracking down on threats, as more students are reporting their classmates for any comments or social media posts that are perceived as threatening.

Nohra said in a news release that the district now has the fiscal stability to hire a security guard, which he called a vital position.

“The goal of the partnership is to create and maintain safe, secure and orderly learning environments for students, teachers and staff. This is a proactive strategy designed to bring prevention and intervention into the schools,” said Nohra.

“We are in a position where we have to do this. We have to provide an elevated level of security and safety on campus and there’s no better way to do that than to work with the Liberty Police Department. It builds rapport with kids and at the same time, also keeps them safe,” he added.

The decision was discussed at a board of education meeting Monday. The board also announced the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new youth recreation center at the old Liberty High School gymnasium will be pushed back to March 15 at 11 a.m.

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