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Central York School District, parents tackle school safety in panel discussion

SPRINGETTSBURY TWP., Pa. - Hundreds of parents in the Central York School District met with leaders Wednesday night about school safety, a week after threats of violence shut down schools.

The district says it wants that feedback from parents to make sure children are safe at school.

“With the amount of passion that flows through people on this topic, it could have been a very difficult evening and what I took from this was Central School District has an unbelievable family in everything they do,” said York County District Attorney Dave Sunday.

By now, parents know all too well about the threats of violence last week that prompted the district to shut down from Wednesday to Friday.

A 13-year-old female middle school student in the district has been charged in connection with the threats.

But parents say the discussion now is about moving forward.

“That speaks to resources and speaks to taxes,” said district parent Isaiah Embry. ‘You're going to have to look at personnel, how many folks are you going to have outfitted in each of the buildings, things of that nature.”

Most parents say they felt the district handled the situation well, but more needs to be done to ensure student safety.

One focus is additional effort on mental health, something in which parents say the district already has a solid foundation.

“I just firmly believe in the mental health and the whole human element piece, that if we do more with that, we could really stop this at the starting point,” said Marie Damiano, a parent and former school board member.

District officials told parents about some of the things they are doing to keep their schools and students safe, such as security measures and drills.

Other leaders say this was a good step to make sure everyone is on the same page.

“As a community, we need to have a tough discussion,” Sunday said. “This can't stop tonight. People have to keep talking every single day and people have to do it in a respectful manner that allows real change to occur, if indeed that needs to happen.”