School Security: Clarkstown Prepares For Incidents Like Gun Scare In Blauvelt

Drills, planning sessions, school resource officers part of safety effort.

In the wake of Tuesday's gun scare at South Orangetown Middle School, Clarkstown school officials said they work throughout the year to improve school security.

"My primary task is to assure the safety of the students and staff in Clarkstown's schools," said Clarkstown schools Superintendent Meg Keller-Cogan. "We take any threats against individuals or groups very seriously. We work to fully enact the student code of conduct (disciplinary code) in all instances where behaviors threaten this core value."

Tuesday, a 14-year-old South Orangetown Middle School student was arrested after bringing a pellet gun to school, taking it out of a backpack and pointing it at several teachers. The pellet gun, which police said looks like a real firearm, was used by the student in several attempts to carjack vehicles on a Blauvelt street in front of the school.

Orangetown police said a close relationship between the police department and the South Orangetown School District had prepared both sides to quickly react to Tuesday's incident, in which no one was injured.

Keller-Cogan said Clarkstown school officials meet with Clarkstown police throughout the year on safety and security issues. In addition to working with the police administration, Clarkstown has a school resource officer in each of its secondary schools who is a Clarkstown police officer who works in the building full-time.

"We have had practice drills for such occurrences," Keller-Cogan said after Tuesday's incident in Blauvelt. "We implemented a threat assessment procedure at the high schools to assess the likelihood of adverse behaviors and have had safety drills in all of our schools and in the district office."

Clarkstown school board president Phillip DeGaetano praised Keller-Cogan for her focus on security.

"The superintendent is vigilant, she worries about this daily," DeGaetano said of security in Clarkstown schools.

DeGaetano said Clarkstown is constantly looking for ways to ensure the safety of its students and staff.

Police from area departments including Clarkstown, South Nyack-Grand View and the State Police and the District Attorney's office assisted Orangetown police during Tuesday's gun scare.


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