FACTORYVILLE - At the Lackawanna Trail school board meeting April 8, superintendent Matthew Rakauskas formally introduced law enforcement liaison Daralyn Carr. Rakauskas said Carr has been working with the high school for juvenile probation for years. He added that since the Sandy Hook tragedy in December, 2012, Lackawanna Trail has been looking at methods to be more proactive in providing security.
“We walked into a great situation having already had Daralyn with us,” he added. “We booked an agreement with Wyoming County to increase her hours, and make her a K-to-12 type of person, who is here in a proactive measure but is also someone who is able to carry a firearm and use it for protection of the students and staff if need be.”
Rakauskas said the board has been introducing Carr to the elementary students and that at the April 8 meeting they sought to offer a public welcome to her.
Carr explained her background as a juvenile probation officer in Wyoming County for 12 years.
“Half of that role has been school-based here at Lackawanna Trail,” she said. “The other half, I’m actually the community liaison officer. So that means, I interact with various community agencies.”
She always supervised high school offenders who are on probation, Carr said, and worked with their teachers. She announced an increased role, which is preventative. She will meet with students who are not on probation but who may need more information about the juvenile aspect of the criminal justice system.
“In addition to the schools’ teams and the staffs’ teams, I’m meeting with all the staff and teachers about safety planning for their classroom and lockdown procedures. (I was) going over what would possibly happen if there was an emergency in the building and they had to go into a lockdown situation,” she said. “That has been received, I think, very well from the teachers and the staff and I’m probably about halfway there.”
High school principal John Rushefski lauded Carr for her work.
“It’s great to have Daralyn in the school because she’s trained to be a law enforcement officer,” he said. “She thinks like a law enforcement officer and gives us that perspective.”
Carr displayed her firearm equipment used to keep the schools safe and reviewed her training.
“We have annual qualification training that we do with firearms,” she said. “But also, we go out monthly to shoot and to practice. We also do a lot of tactics.”
She, who is married with three children, has a Bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College and is working on her Master’s in criminal justice and administration.
High school assistant principal Mark Murphy said Carr will assist with a drill the school has planned for Fall. He mentioned scenarios that Carr will run through to protect the students in the classroom.
“I think that’s a great framework that she lends and certainly a huge benefit in addition to serving in our safe schools committee and advising us,” he said. “She’s actually there showing us, telling us, working through it with us.”
Elementary Principal Tania Stoker added that Carr was present when the school created their crisis plan. She said Carr gives quality feedback when the school conducts fire drills and lockdowns.
In other business:
* Board member Judith Johnson made a motion to add to the district substitute list: Elementary teacher Cynthia Brez of Jefferson Twp; nurse Kirsten McIntyre of Scranton; bus driver Miles Dooley of Tunkhannock; bus driver Edward Richardson of Carbondale; biochem teacher Samantha Ide of Tunkhannock; biochem teacher Kathleen Maier of Nicholson. All clearances are on file. Board member Ned Clarke seconded this motion. The board approved 9-0.
* Ned Clarke mentioned in his board member report that he attended the annual Breakfast of Hope supporting the Lou Ruspi Jr. Foundation, which promotes suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Clarke read aloud the history and mission statement of this foundation. He stated the Lou Ruspi Jr. Foundation is requesting acceptance from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The packet came with three CDs, which are dedicated to hope, guidance and education of suicide and mental health awareness.
At this time, I would like to present these CDs to the guidance department and the administration and Mr. Rakauskas for their review,” stated Clarke. “I think it’s very important to have a heightened awareness of teen suicide and depression and many problems that face our youth today.”