COAL TOWNSHIP - Shamokin Area School Board members accepted a grant Tuesday to prevent and reduce incidents of violence within its buildings.

Ruby Michetti, curriculum coordinator, said the $25,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)'s Safe School Target Grant will be used to train 10 staff members from each of the four educational buildings (elementary, intermediate, middle and high school) in safe crisis management, which is designed to prevent any negative actions in the school.

Trained individuals will be visible in hallways and other spaces where students gather between classes and before and after school, she said.

The grant would cover the costs for paying trainers, paying staff to attend the training and paying substitutes to cover for the teachers during training, Michetti said.

PDE awarded $2.6 million in competitive grants to 110 public schools, including $25,000 to Southern Columbia Area, $13,190 to Warrior Run and $25,000 to Danville Area.

The money must be spent by June 30.

The focus of the grant program, according to a PDE media release Feb. 21, is to assist schools by reducing unnecessary student disciplinary actions and promoting an environment of greater productivity, safety and learning; providing professional development to staff using research-based violence prevention and classroom management programs, and enhancing anti-violence efforts between schools and parents, local governments, law enforcement and community organizations.

Schools were eligible to receive up to $25,000. The following programs were considered for funding: conflict resolution or dispute management, school-wide positive behavior support, school-based diversion programs, classroom management, research-based violence prevention programs that address risk factors to reduce incidents of problem behaviors among students, training for Student Assistance Program team members and staff training in the use of positive behavior supports, de-escalation techniques and appropriate responses to student behavior that may require immediate intervention.

Harassment

School Board Director Bob Getchey also threatened an unnamed board member and members of the public with legal action if alleged harassment against him continues.

Getchey left the meeting before The News-Item could ask him to elaborate, and he did not return a phone call later that evening.

Getchey said he is tired of board members attempting to embarrass him. He said he works hard for the people of the district and he will not be intimidated into voting a certain way.

He implored the board to act "like civilized people."

"If you don't like me, that's fine, but you will respect me," he said.

Board Director Charles Shuey said he doesn't think there is a member on the board who hasn't been personally attacked by the public, and Getchey didn't have "exclusive domain" on being abused.

"When you're running for public office, it goes with the territory," Shuey said.

In other business

The board approved:

- To waive any outstanding real estate or liens on the following blighted properties so they can be demolished by the city of Shamokin: 133-135 S. Shamokin St., 1-3 S. First St., 726 E. Sunbury St. and 14-16 E. Willow St.

- The termination of Marlene Landau, secondary teacher.

- The resignation of Brenda Guzik, teacher aide, retroactive to Nov. 18, and Korenn Beamer, special education clerk/secretary, effective March 18.