Ensure School Is Kept Secure

School officials often are tight-lipped when the public hears of problems. Such has been the situation regarding a breach of security at Wheeling Park High School’s J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center.

To some extent that is understandable. First, school officials do not want to make public the name of the student involved. Second, because it is a security matter, they do not want to reveal information that might further compromise protections at the school.

As we have reported, a student managed to use a homemade device to bypass a locked door at the center, apparently earlier this year. The matter came to light, but only briefly, during an Ohio County Board of Education meeting on Feb. 11.

“It was dealt with, it has been resolved and safeguards have been put in place to prevent the situation from happening in the future,” board President James Jorden said during the meeting.

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

We certainly hope so, but nothing has been made public about how school officials determined the security breach could not be repeated by someone else with a similar homemade device.

As board member Gary Kestner noted, school security has been a serious concern since the December massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.

Access to WPHS is controlled by a sophisticated system that is supposed to ensure school officials can control who enters the facility and when they do so. That and the presence of a police resource officer at the school are two key security features.

Again, Jorden has provided assurances of safeguards to prevent such a security breach in the future. We hope steps taken are as comprehensive and solid as possible. If school officials are not positive of that, they should call in experts to conduct a thorough review of the locking system – including how a high school student managed to get around it.