The course of events that took place last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT presented the worst imaginable scenario that any parent dropping a child off at school in the morning could imagine. It was a tragic occurrence that no parent is likely to forget and one that will likely cause community members to demand a greater vigilance when it comes to security procedures, hoping to prevent a similar incident from taking place.
At last night’s Mamaroneck School Board meeting, Meryl Rubinstein, the assistant superintendent for business operations, discussed the steps the Mamaroneck District plans to take in order to improve security.
Immediate steps include a greater police presence at all schools during morning drop-off times; limiting access to one entrance during the course of the day at all schools and enforcing a policy that mandates that all staff members must wear ID badges on school grounds.
“Over the next few days and continuing until we return, we’re going to step up our efforts to ensure that everyone complies with our emergency plans and our day-to-day safety plans and that we are communicating effectively as well,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Shaps.
The District will also be scheduling lockdown and lockout drills with local fire and police departments; reviewing and revising emergency plans at both the school and District level; reviewing telephone systems and possibly installing both security cameras and audio/video intercom systems.
Getting used to the new rules may be the biggest challenge though.
“I know it’s sometimes easy to knock on a door, see a teacher and say, ‘Oh, come on, you know me, let me in please,’ but we really need to be diligent and make sure that, even though it may be an inconvenience...that parents and community members comply with the single point of entry,” said Rubinstein.
Additionally, the District will also hold a public conversation on safety tonight at 7:30 p.m. in McLain Auditorium at Mamaroneck High School so that parents will be able to discuss their concerns. A similar event will take place at Rye Neck High School tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the Community Room, where Superintendent Dr. Peter Mustich will be available to discuss security concerns with parents.