Mars reorganizes school district’s security team
J.W. Johnson Jr.
ADAMS TWP — The Mars School District's security team was reorganized Tuesday, with district officials citing language in the state law requiring districts across the state to have a security coordinator.
During a regular meeting of the board, members voted to accept the resignation of Louis Gentile as the district's school safety and security coordinator.
In August, the board appointed Gentile to the position as required by Act 44, which was signed into law in June by Gov. Tom Wolf. The move created the Safe Schools and Security Committee.
The committee was asked to develop criteria districts will use in performing school safety and security measures. Every school district is required to hire a coordinator as part of the law.
On Tuesday, Tom King, board solicitor, said language in the law indicates the person appointed to the position must be “an administrator.” That has been determined to mean that the person must otherwise be an employee of the district, which Gentile is not. King indicated this could lead to liability issues.
Because of that, Gentile offered his resignation, and suggested Jeffrey Bitzer as the new coordinator. Bitzer had been serving as an assistant to Gentile since his appointment in August. He serves as the district's director of telecommunications and safety systems.
Gentile and his company, CSI Corporate Security & Investigations, will remain with the district as a consultant.
“I think you'll get the same result,” King told the board before the voting.
The board approved all three moves unanimously.
King said Gentile had done a great deal of work since being appointed to the position to create a security and safety plan.
He added Gentile had meetings with local police departments, and created and tested a number of measures and filed comprehensive reports with the district.