Board to discuss possibility of rifle club

District in talks with Richfield Sportsmen Club to host

MIFFLINTOWN — Students at Juniata County high schools could see an archery and rifle club in the near future if the Juniata County School District Board of Directors decides to move forward with such a group.

Superintendent Keith Yarger, as well as Juniata and East Juniata principles Edward Apple and Ben Fausey said at the board meeting Wednesday night that they believed such a club would go over well with students, saying that they have received requests for such a group.

In discussion with administration, Richfield Sportsmans Club voiced interest in hosting the club, Yarger said.

“I think any opportunity for after school programs is positive,” said Fausey.

While, Fausey noted, there is initial trepidation associated with students using firearms, he said the sportsmans club could take measures to get students properly trained.

Apple noted, “We have a lot of students who would be interested in such a program.”

Yarger said discussion on the club would likely come up at the September board meeting. If approved, the district would bus students to Richfield for meetings.

Also at the meeting, Melissa Fausey, of the Juniata County Prevention Board, presented findings from the Pennsylvania Youth Survey, which is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency every other year.

The survey gives information about strengths and weakness of the county’s youth, Fausey said. This year, the survey had an 89 percent participation rate.

Fausey noted some troubling findings that the Prevention Board plans to address in the near future regarding the mental health of students.

The survey indicated 14 percent of Juniata County students have considered suicide, with 19 percent of eighth graders having considered.

She also said 11 percent of students have planned suicide, while 8.4 percent have attempted.

In a related issue, the board will vote on whether to approve funding to support a suicide prevention walk in an effort to take steps to further address the issue.

Fausey said the survey is administered to sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th graders.

Also discussed Wednesday was an issue regarding the transfer of a student on Black Log Road, Lack Township, to Southern Huntingdon School District, which was declined earlier this year.