Security Director at Connectcut School District Keeps His Kids Safe

Oct. 6, 2006
Security director Richard Kerns faces challenges of budgets in safety efforts

SEYMOUR -- A chain-link fence was all that separated Anna LoPresti School students from the busy traffic at Pearl and Maple streets, a situation that concerned Richard Kerns, the school district's security director.

"I saw that this was a busy intersection and the playground was simply fenced in with a chain-link fence," he informed Supt. of Schools Tom Petruny.

"I felt the playground needed some protection from the intersection in case an accident was to occur, sending an out-of-control car toward our children," Kerns said.

"It is a pretty busy area," Petruny said. Knowing funding is scarce, Kerns began looking for low-cost ways to resolve the safety issue.

The state Department of Transportation declined to get involved, saying it was the town's problem. So Kerns spoke with Turner Construction officials, who referred him to Camputaro Construction of North Branford.

The company agreed to donate a $700 Jersey barrier.

After the school system purchased a second barrier, the town Public Works Department picked them up and delivered them to the school, where they were placed along the playground.

Board of Education Chairman Bruce Baker said he is glad to see the barriers in place and credited Kerns for taking the initiative of finding them and arranging their delivery.

"He did a great job," Baker said. "Having them there is really a good thing."

"I'm very pleased that they are here," LoPresti Principal Henry A. Gagliardi Jr. said. "It relieves a lot of concerns I had about the cars; they sometimes go by here too fast.

"They're extra protection for my kids."