An added police presence at Clarkstown schools unveiled on Monday is part of the district’s overall response to increasing safety following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Superintendent Dr. J. Thomas Morton said in response to suggestions and inquiries, the district scheduled a meeting with representatives of parents, staff and the police department for Monday, January 28 to discuss possible additional security measures.
“We are having a number of seminars with the parent population and police officers,” said Dr. Morton.
Assistant Superintendent for Business, Facilities & Fiscal Management John LaNave said the PTA has been asked to send representatives from each school, the district’s eight unions have been asked to send representatives, and other community members have been invited to a meeting with Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan and other police officials to discuss school safety.
LaNave said the stakeholders would talk about measures already in place at the schools such as Safety Hold and safety procedures. Safety Hold is a form of a “lockout.”
During a “lockout” students and staff are kept in the building and no one is allowed in. One was conducted at Felix Festa Middle School on Friday prior to the early dismissal. Safety measures involve controlling access to the school by having only a single entrance where possible and a greeter to meet visitors.
The second part of the workshop will solicit ideas for new safety protocols. LaNave said he will compile a list of the recommendations and their projected cost, which will be presented to the board of education for its consideration.
In December, Dr. Morton advised parents that the district was looking at a number of safety improvements, some of which had been under consideration prior to the Newton, CT tragedy. Some of the ideas included panic buttons installed at each school with a direct connection to the police department, armed security guards at all schools and police access to school security cameras.
Clarkstown police officers on patrol are now stopping at a different school within the town each day to meet with the principal and staff and walk through the building. There are 37 public and private schools in Clarkstown.
The meeting on Jan. 28th is open to the public and begins at 6:30 p.m. at the district offices.