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With grant, Centennial to bolster school safety efforts


William Tennent High School was briefly placed on lockdown last week following an armed robbery at the nearby Warminster Cigar and Tobacco Outlet on Newtown Road.

Police said the district made the move “out of abundance of caution” but Superintendent Dr. Dana T. Bedden brought the March 2 incident up when discussing the importance of a recent $362,626 Safety and Security Grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

“After what we went through with the robbery, this grant is helping us respond to those situations,” Bedden told the Herald Tuesday.

On Feb. 27, Centennial School District was awarded the grant, which a press release said is earmarked for “the purchase of physical, technological, and mental health measures to improve the safety and well-being of students, staff, community and visitors in Centennial School District.”

In the release, Bedden noted “We are delighted to receive these additional funds to support our ongoing efforts to improve safety and security in Centennial School District.”

These one-time funds will be used to:

• Conduct emergency management and situational awareness training for staff

• Install vehicle barriers around play areas that currently do not have fencing

• Provide additional school ID badge readers at specific CSD buildings

• Update and/or modify security systems’ notification, lockdown functions, and locations

• Install additional cameras to help reduce and/or eliminate blind spots

• Update old cameras

• Replace locks, cores and keys under one controlled system at specific buildings

• Add additional school psychological services to increase mental health support.

“Beyond what I said about being delighted, in light of what occurred, part of that grant will directly support some of the things that would help us,” Bedden said Tuesday.

He went on to emphasize the importance of the grant money going towards updating security systems and lockdowns.

“Another part of that is our ability to have funds to support our emergency management training for our staff,” Bedden added.

The superintendent shared that transitioning school dismissal and monitoring student pickup or drop off presents a new challenge and requires the need for staff training. “The importance of the situation awareness training is highlighted, and this grant money will support our efforts to be better prepared.”

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