North Bellmore Schools Talk School Safety

Editor's Note: This article was written and submitted by Chris Boyle.

At January’s North Bellmore Board of Education meeting, the topic of school safety was on the forefront due to the shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“I think we were all horrified and shocked by the shootings at Sandy Hook,” Principal Arnold Goldstein said. “There are no words to describe the grief for those children and staff members that were lost. In addition to mourning for the loss of these children and educators, who were true heroes, we much look inwards to make sure that we are doing all we can to maintain the safety and security of our children and staff.”

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Goldstein mentioned that members of his staff recently attended a county-wide workshop given by the Nassau Police Department on ways to prevent violent incidents in schools. Goldstein added that the North Bellmore district is constantly reviewing and revising their safety guidelines to make sure they’re effective as possible.

“We did this after Columbine, we did this after 9/11, and we’re doing it now,” Goldstein said. “Each time, we altered what we did as a result, because you have to learn from what happens, particularly when the unthinkable happens.”

Goldstein outlined some of the security measures that are in place in the North Bellmore district, including the use of safety drills, staff training, walkie-talkies, security cameras, key card swipes, in addition to revisions and additions that are being planned for implementation in the near future.

What additional measures should be taken in North Bellmore Schools? Tell us in the comments section below.

Anthony Bifulco January 17, 2013 at 08:49 PM
In light of the recent tragedy in Sandy Hook, we have come to the realization that our children are not as safe in their classrooms as we once thought. Yes in the past we have learned from tragedies such as Columbine and 9/11, as did Sandy Hook, a community much like our own. They too had all the necessary school lock down protocols, security cameras and staff safety training. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to prevent the unimaginable from happening there. As a result safety was a lengthy topic of discussion at the last school board meeting. The school board talked about security cameras outside the schools. Persons entering the building must be visible on camera and then buzzed in by a secretary in the office then that person must go directly to the office. What’s to stop that person from just walking to a classroom instead? Also how many times have we all walked into a building and the person exiting holds the door for you and allows you in? Anyone entering ours schools should be greeted by an experienced and trained public safety officer at a locked front door. There should be a mandatory visual inspection of all bags being brought into the building. The visitor(s) should then be accompanied by the security officer to the main office where they may state there business or be escorted back off of school grounds. Employee swipe cards were also discussed. The cards could provide a false sense of security in that can be easily utilized by an unauthorized person possessing that card while the employee is not in school that day. These swipe card doors are not monitored by security cameras and could enable an unauthorized person from entering through any of these doors in the building at will. If the employee doesn’t report to work that day the card should be locked out of the system to prevent any unauthorized use of it during that day. It is time that we move away from a reactive thought process and adopt a proactive one in order to assure the safest possible schools. It is imperative to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to school safety. School safety officers should have monthly meetings with local law enforcement liaisons to discuss any matters that either party may have concerning the safety in an around our schools. This should include incidents involving deranged individuals that come to the attention of the police. Also this would also put a face to the name when the school safety officer needs the assistance of the local police for that guy sitting outside of a school in his vehicle for no apparent reason. Eventually I would hope that local law enforcement would expand this intelligence sharing process to include surrounding municipalities and host quarterly meetings where each school district sends one security officer to discuss the security successes or shortfalls experienced by school districts, thus using information and ideas from other schools to further strengthen what we have in place to protect our children. Nothing can be 100 percent guaranteed but we need to acknowledge when we do see a short falls and correct them immediately. Let’s not be the community who regrets thinking it could never happen here. Anthony Bifulco


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