MHS Will Have Full-Time PRO For Next Year
Magnolia High School will have a full-time police officer in the school next year thanks to a grant announced Tuesday afternoon by Gov. Joe Manchin.
New Martinsville Police Department Sgt. Steve Kastigar went to Charleston to accept the $26,000 Prevention Resource Officer (PRO) award that will place him in the local school. It does require a 15 percent match, which will be split evenly by the NMPD and the Wetzel County Board of Education. Also, Chief Tim Cecil said a 15 percent in-kind match is required from the department; it will be fulfilled through their normal duties such as sporting event detail.
While this is only a one-year grant, Cecil said it can be applied for yearly, with the monetary match decreasing with each successive year.
A drug problem at Magnolia has received a lot of attention in the past year. Six students at MHS were expelled by the board of education during the 2009-10 school year for drug incidents. They involved marijuana or prescription drugs.
School and community leaders hope the presence of an officer in the school and the relationship he can develop with the students will help curb this and any other issues.
The PRO program has been very successful at Valley High School. That institution’s officials have said Wetzel County Deputy Donald Bordenkircher has been very helpful to them and the students, not only providing safety, but also acting as a valuable resource for the school and a strong mentor to the students.
“We’ve not had a discipline problem that has come to the board since the PRO program started (at VHS),” said Superintendent Bill Jones.
Kastigar has already signed up for a mandatory class for Prevention Resource Officers and Cecil at Monday night’s council meeting, in hopes of Tuesday’s grant award, that he is getting ready to order a civil service test for the possible replacement of Kastigar’s regular position in the department.
Cecil credited many people with working on this grant application including Mayor Lucille Blum, Councilman Steve Pallisco, Councilwoman Casey Corliss, Teacher Mark Lemasters, Principal Kathi Schmalz, and Rick Estep of the NMPD.