(The following story appeared in The New Britain Herald on August 20, 2018)
Schaller Auto World Donates School-Safety Grants
By Charles Paullin
New Britain Herald
BERLIN – Schools in the area are the beneficiary of grants given out by a local dealership to help increase school security measures.
Schaller Auto World of New Britain gave out $2,500 grants for the high schools in New Britain, Southington, Plainville and Berlin through the Schaller Auto World Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain.
The grants were in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland Floridia in which 17 students and staff were killed, and 16 were injured.
“‘I feel like we need to do something,’” Kaylah Smith, program associate and assistant director of development, said Art Schaller, owner of Schaller Auto World, told her in response to the shooting.
Schaller saw something about locked doors for the schools, Smith added, but he decided to leave it up to the schools to decide what they could use the funds for. So he set up something similar to a request for proposals to see what exactly the schools would say they needed.
In New Britain, the funds will go toward training in coordination with the New Britain Police Department for critical/violent incident training through e-licenses for the ALICE Training Institute. The fund will provides licenses for additional staff, such as cafeteria workers, bus drivers, paraprofessionals and new hires that come after the first round of training.
“The Consolidated School District of New Britain is committed to providing a safe school environment for our students and staff,” said Robert Smedley, New Britain High School security and facilities manager.
“We thank the Schaller Auto World Fund for supporting our efforts.”
At Southington High School, the funds will purchase four two-way radios to be used to connect the main office, other parts of the school and the Southington Police Department.
“The availability of additional state of the art communication devices will enhance the ability of staff to provide a safe and secure environment for students and staff,” said Southington Superintendent Tim Connellan. “Also, the additional devices will provide an added level of emergency communication that could prove vital during a critical incident.”
In Plainville, the funds will go toward cameras to help fill blind spots of cameras already installed at the high school.
Ranging from $100 to $200, the number of cameras to be purchased is still to be determined, depending on which type of camera features are needed first.
In Berlin, the funds will go toward purchasing a Raptor visitor management system that will run an immediate background check and scan of registered sex offender data bases in all 50 states after a guest provides their ID badge.
The system will also provide a temporary ID badge with a picture of the visitor.