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District Drops Firm That Employed Security Guard

MASD board and staff tell parents that student safety remains paramount

By Adam Reinherz
The Tube City Almanac
January 12, 2024
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Members of the McKeesport Little Theater’s Juniors Program performed selections from Disney’s Aladdin Jr. at Thursday’s school board meeting. The show opens tonight (Friday). (Adam Reinherz photo for Tube City Almanac)

McKeesport Area School Board has accepted the resignation of the firm that was providing security in district buildings and will retain a new company within 60 days.

The move comes after a guard for Homeland Intelligence & Protective Services LLC of McDonald was arrested and charged this week with having a sexual relationship with a now 17-year-old student.

The guard, Alexis Brown, 24, of McKeesport is charged by Allegheny County police with unlawful sexual contact with a student, corrupting the morals of minors and unlawful contact with a minor. She is awaiting a preliminary hearing Jan. 29 before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi.

Board members and staff spent Thursday’s monthly meeting reiterating that student safety remains paramount.

Messages left for Homeland Intelligence & Protective Services by Tube City Almanac have not been returned.

Solicitor Gary Matta said the alleged involvement was “definitely nothing that the district was aware of,” and added “there are things that we can control and things that we cannot control.”

There is a chance that the new agency may employ guards who currently work in the district, but those are “good guards,” district police chief Brenda Sawyer said: “The trouble guards are gone.”

Board president Mark Holtzman told attendees that he and Sawyer both reviewed the files of current district guards.

Holtzman then praised Sawyer for her unwavering commitment to safety: “I'll say it again, and I'll probably say it until I leave this earth. She's the best in the business and whatever she says I will go with every single time.”

There was no update on the ongoing teachers’ contract dispute.

However, attendees received a positive report regarding busing. After years of addressing transportation ills, Superintendent Tia Wanzo said that as of Jan. 2, the district’s bus routes are fully covered.

Wanzo thanked Krise Transportation for finding “creative” solutions to a staffing shortage.

Adam Reinherz is a freelance writer. He can be reached at adam.reinherz@gmail.com.

Originally published January 12, 2024.

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