SHORTSVILLE, N.Y. (WROC) — Concerned parents let their voices be heard Wednesday night at a Red Jacket School Board Meeting in Shortsville. Many frustrations stem from an incident on April 1st involving a student who brought a loaded gun with extra ammunition to the high school.

While the student was detained by staff before police showed up, speakers asked school leadership why there was not a dedicated school resource officer on-site.

The Superintendent of Schools Charlene Dehn read a prepared statement from the podium, addressing the large crowd.

She spoke about new security features being added on school grounds, some of them already in motion before April 1st. 

“We will work on placing more emphasis on the need for flexibility for dynamic circumstances in our plans moving forward,” says Dehn.

New plans include:

  • Adding more cameras
  • Adding the Raptor system (to prevent access by known sex offenders placed on the sex offender list)
  • Installing thumb-turn locks to all our classrooms and office doors, providing controlled remote access with cameras at our entrances
  • Replacing exterior doors with swipe card access
  • Creating secured entrances and also by placing safety film on windows.
  • Installing a new PA system that has enhanced safety features for use in emergency situations. The wiring for the system is in the process of being installed.

Also included, restoring a school resource officer, a position previously cut to focus on students’ mental health needs during the pandemic. “We placed the SRO program on pause,” Dehn said.

Parent Dana Ruggles said safety should be a top priority in these hallways. “I think there should be more protection for the students and less money for the superintendent,” he says.

Deputy John Peck used to be an SRO. He says the staff were heroes on April 1st restraining the student with the weapon. “Also the faculty and staff that were in the classrooms with their children kept them safe.”

But he says having a dedicated SRO is an added level of security. “First and foremost is that positive relationship that a resource officer develops with their students,” Peck said.

District Attorney Jim Ritts says the emotions and concerns from parents were natural.

“Everybody steps back and starts to look at what happened,” Ritts said.

He says the student who brought the pistol to school is in a secure facility. His case is now with a grand jury. “You’ll know when you know. The grand jury is secret, so we can’t even disclose when it’s scheduled.”

While the process could take a while, Ritts says the community, and the student, deserves a prompt resolution to this.