Student Breaches WPHS Security

A breach of security at Wheeling Park High School that involved a student is not being treated as a police matter and is instead being handled by school officials.

The issue was made public during a recent Ohio County Board of Education meeting when board member Gary Kestner questioned school administrators about a student using a homemade device to bypass a locked door and gain access to the school’s J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center.

Kestner’s inquiry was recorded in the board’s Feb. 11 minutes, where it was stated Assistant Superintendent Bernard Dolan assured him that all doors had been checked. The minutes also recorded board President James Jorden’s acknowledgment that there was a situation with a door at WPHS.

“It was dealt with, it has been resolved and safeguards have been put in place to prevent the situation from happening in the future,” Jorden said, according to the minutes. He also thanked the administration for handling the situation.

Police Sgt. William Criswell, the prevention resource officer at WPHS, said he was not aware of the situation when contacted by a reporter Thursday. Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said the matter was not reported to police.

Kestner said Superintendent Dianna Vargo acknowledged the incident and said the matter was handled by WPHS Principal Amy Minch.

“The only thing I can say is the situation dealt with a student matter,” Vargo said. “The J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center is safe.”

Kestner said anytime there is a security concern it should be brought to light, “especially because of what happened at Sandy Hook” elementary school in Connecticut where 26 people were shot and killed in December.

“My concern was the … security of the high school with the one door being accessed,” Kestner said. “You want to make sure that can never happen again. You don’t want anyone to breach the security of the building.”