Police Chief, Known For Shooting Unarmed Suspect, Provides Security At High School

Many parents fear for the safety of their children after the tragic deaths in the Newtown School massacre. Parent’s from across the nation have insisted that serious measures be taken in order to protect the most innocent of us “our children.” School Boards all across the country are indeed feeling the pressure from parents, thus forcing them to reevaluate their “school safety” programs and security.

Imagine if your school board decided it was going to hire an armed security officer for your child’s school. You and I both would say great that is what they need, right? Or to allow their teachers that have training to be armed. What if this person was an ex-state police officer that was known for being “intimidating,” a “thug,” and had a bad history of civil rights abuses? Would you want a school board official to speak up and say no, not that person because of his history? Would you as a parent want to know this information and have the choice of allowing this person to be hired or not? Of course you would, as would I. The most important thing is for our children to be protected and safe, surely not to have a former officer that is known for his less than ethical tactics walking around your school and watching your children.

According to Police Chief Mark Kessler, of the Gilberton Borough Police Department, that is exactly what is happening. Chief Kessler is known for creating the resolution that nullified all illegal gun laws on federal, state, county, and town ordinances within the town of Gilberton, PA. He has also been working hard to establish the Constitutional Security Force (CSF) across the nation to help protect our great country.

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On May 1, 2013 at 6pm, The North Schuylkill School board was holding a meeting. Chief Mark Kessler, being an active board member, was headed into the meeting from the parking lot. He noticed Chief Edward Tarantelli of the Butler Township Police Department. When Chief Kessler asked Mr. Tarantelli why he was there, Mr. Tarantelli stated “I’m going to the meeting.” This struck Chief Kessler as odd, since Chief Tarantelli had not been there before.

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Mr. Kessler noticed that Mr. Tarantelli was placing his gun belt on, and Chief Kessler asked that he not wear the gun in the meeting. Mr. Kessler had also taken off his weapon for the meeting, therefore didn’t think it was too much to ask. Mr. Tarantelli insisted after being asked several times not to wear his gun that he was going to wear his weapon. Finally, Mr. Tarantelli admitted he was there for security. Chief Kessler then asked who had him come for security and for what?

According to Chief Kessler, Mr. Tarantelli stated that the Superintendent had hired him privately to come to the meeting as security. Chief Kessler feels that this was an intimidation tactic on behalf of the Superintendent of the school board to silence him from speaking out against the employment of an ex-state trooper that is known to use “intimidation” and “thug” tactics.

While in the meeting Chief Edward Tarantelli, located in the right hand corner, kept staring at Chief Kessler as if to silently tell him he had better keep his mouth shut. Picture can be seen above. I wonder why it is that the Superintendent, Dr. Andrew Smarkanic, is trying to silence Chief Kessler into being quiet about this? After all they are supposed to be there specifically for the children, right? Why is standing up trying to protect the children of North Schuylkill High School from possible harm bringing such a fuss along with intimidation? Could it be because this officer is related to someone who works for the school itself, or could it be as simple as they don’t like their authority and decisions challenged?

According to the Standardspeaker.com on October 13, 2012

FOUNTAIN SPRINGS – Butler Township (Schuylkill County) and the North Schuylkill School District have entered into an agreement that will have a part-time police officer providing security services at the high school.

The supervisors approved the agreement at a meeting earlier this month.

Supervisors Chairman David Kessler said the security will be provided from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on school days.

Township solicitor Christopher Riedlinger said the district will pay the wages that the township would owe the officers during those times and will reimburse the township for any costs “such as increased insurance premiums (or) any type of certifications needed by an officer to be onsite at a school.”

Kessler said the township was approached by the school district about two months ago on the possibility of stationing a police officer at the school.

“It took awhile to get the wording correct and we wanted to make sure that there wasn’t going to be a cost to the township residents,” Kessler said. “The district will fund the whole thing.”

Riedlinger said there will be one police officer on duty at any time, though not always the same one.

“There might be two or three different officers who serve as the rotating school officers, but they will remain part-time officers of the township,” said Riedlinger.

Kessler and Riedlinger said the township will still have the normal 24/7 coverage in addition to an officer in the school.

“This is just providing extra time to our part-timers,” Riedlinger said. “It’s not detracting from the coverage of the rest of the municipality.”

He said the agreement includes language that would keep the police officer at the school during the time scheduled and not be called to cover something within the township during those times.

Township secretary Kate Staudenmeier said a police officer would be assigned to the district very soon, as soon as Police Chief Edward Tarantelli drew up a schedule.

North Schuylkill Superintendent Dr. Andrew Smarkanic agreed that the police officer should be on duty in a short time.

Does anyone find it odd that the same person the Superintendent hired for meeting “security” is the same person who chose this ex-state trooper to guard the school and is known for shooting an unarmed suspect? According to Chief Kessler there has never been security at any of the board meetings since he has been on the board, and believes that they were using Chief Edward Tarantelli’s reputation to intimidate him into silence. I would also like to know why an off duty officer “working security” was in his official uniform? Where is the money going to come from to pay him? Is this going to be funded by the tax-payers via the school board? Or is this going to be paid by Dr. Andrew Smarkanic?

Police Chief Mark Kessler is extremely concerned about the safety of all the children at North Schuylkill High School, and fears that this ex-state trooper is a danger to the children. Mr. Kessler requested that the school board replace this officer with someone more suitable to protect and watch over the children.

Police Chief Kessler is taking a stand for what is right by trying to protect the children of North Schuylkill High School. While Superintendent Dr. Andrew Smarkanic is doing everything within his power to silence Chief Kessler, including intimidation tactics. Without regard to the real safety concerns of the children. I wonder how the parents of North Schuylkill High School would feel about this ex-officer working in the school around their children, if they heard what Chief Kessler had to say?

Whatever the case may be we can not allow the continuous bullying tactics that are going on around this country to stand! We must stand and support those that support their oaths and secure our safety. While Chief Kessler is one that stands by his oath, Chief Edward Tarantelli is known for supporting gun grabbing agendas.

I was unable to reach Dr. Andrew Smarkanic for comment, nor Chief Edward Tarantelli. I will continue to call and see if they will answer these questions and keep you updated.

If you would like to contact them to voice your opinion and your outrage I am posting their information below. Please remember, do not send threats or anything that will not be productive. We need to draw attention to this and make it clear that we will not allow people to be “intimidated” or “bullied” for standing up for our children. Make sure to let them know we are watching to see how they are going to handle this matter.

In my opinion Dr. Andrew Smarkanic as well as Chief Edward Tarantelli owe not only Police Chief Mark Kessler a public apology but the parents of North Schuylkill High School as well.

North Schuylkill School Superintendent
Dr. Andrew Smarkanic
15 Academy Lane
Ashland, PA 17921
email: [email protected]

Chief Edward Tarantelli
211 Broad Street
Ashland, PA 17921
non-emergency number: 570-875-4131

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