To the editor: I felt the need to come out of my "shell" to respond to the article about the security issues at Shamokin Area School District. Brian Persing, James Zack and Stephen Curran visited Hazleton School District to research the implementation of new security measures. I find the comments and statements of Board President Persing in regards to the tightening of security to be odd, considering what occurred at the Knights of Columbus basketball tournament.

Mr. Persing, while bringing in items for his concession stand, duct-taped the door lock so that it stayed open. He then left the school unlocked while he made a couple trips to wherever to bring in more items for the stand. Anyone could have walked in there and trashed the school or worse, just because he decided it was too much of an inconvenience for him to unlock the door. But, let me also say, Mr. Persing has a key card, so he can come and go when he wants, and which I think he shouldn't have.

I cannot disagree that our world has changed drastically over the years and schools now need security, but Mr. Persing seems to be all about "tightening" security in our district and possibly asking the taxpayers to support a tax hike to pay for it. This is strange when you consider the stunt he pulled, which has to be one of the stupidest and most irresponsible acts ever performed by a school board member, much less president.

Should this be overlooked and swept under the rug like all the other actions of this school director? Such as how he drives up on the pavement when he enters the buildings? Why can't he walk in from the parking lot like everyone else? I bet no one else would get the special front door parking.

We as taxpayers pay the salaries of the superintendent (Mr. Zack) and business manager (Mr. Curran) to do their jobs, and not to be entertaining Mr. Persing every day. I don't believe two of our top paid employees should be entertaining, but rather working for the salaries they are collecting.

At the last athletic/buildings and grounds meeting, Dec. 20, it was stated by Robert Getchey that he was told the doors are not locking right and that after the incident in Connecticut, "we need to protect these kids." He also said doors are left open all over campus. "We need to stop holding doors open with rocks and stuff and to start holding people accountable." At the last board meeting, I specifically asked if his suggestion applies to board members, especially Mr. Persing, who, as I said, used duct tape on the door to keep it unlocked and left it in the unlocked "taped" position for several hours. Mr. Persing argued with me that it was only a few minutes. Sorry, but I know exactly the times, and it was for several hours.

Lastly, Mr. Persing, without even consulting the board, except for his buddies, tried to stop the girls basketball boosters from opening a concession stand at the tournament. They have always opened in previous years with no problems. The rest of us had to get together by phone to override him. These are all Shamokin kids who benefit from the concessions.

There will be some new people running for the school board in the May primary. Please, voters and taxpayers, keep all this in mind come election time.

Tracey Witmer


Shamokin Area School Board