In response to concerns of safety and security at local schools, at last week’s Board of Education meeting at the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District, Chris Donarummo, assistant to the superintendent in charge of safety and security, gave a presentation on a number of safety measure the district put into place before the current school year.
Plainview schools Superintendent Dr. Lorna Lewis said that the 2017-18 budget included significant funds to upgrade the district’s security by adding guards at each school, increasing camera coverage and changing protocols for visitors to the campuses.
Among the upgrades completed as of fall 2017 were an upgraded hand-held radio system, uniformed security guards assigned at elementary and middle schools, ScholarChip visitor management system, upgraded security equipment at front desks, panic button apps used to communicate with the police department, mandatory compliance training for all staff and a complete review of emergency procedures by the police department.
In addition, a number of security measures are in progress and scheduled to be completed prior to the end of the 2017-18 school year. These initiatives include additional exterior and interior security cameras, automated emergency notification for staff and students, exterior and interior LED lock-down strobe lighting, push-button emergency notification to the police department and features that would disable automated door access in the event of a lock down.
“I would like to thank those parents who came out to the meeting to share their great ideas and thoughts,” said Lewis. “No matter how good we are today, we can always be better for tomorrow. Working together with our safety teams, staff and community, we will sharpen our protocols to make our campus the safest it can be for our children and staff.”
The examination of the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District’s safety and security features comes on the heels of the mass shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, on Feb. 14. Since that shooting, which took the lives of 17 individuals, Plainview school officials have addressed local safety concerns with numerous statements and actions.
Lewis, who has been the superintendent in Plainview-Old Bethpage since 2012, included the security briefing in the last Board of Education meeting as a proactive measure and a service to parents, addressing their safety concerns.
“Plainview-Old Bethpage has been taking security seriously for quite some time and has put many security measures in place over several years,” said Cheryl Dender, a parent in the school district.
In a recent ranking by the national school grading site, Niche.com, the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District was named the 145th safest school district out of 670 in the state. In comparison, Broward County School District, where Douglas high is located, was named the 45th safest out of 67 in Florida.
Aside from security, the Plainview community has come together in response to the Parkland shooting. Recently, community members designed a banner to send to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, with students signing names and messages of encouragement for Douglas high students to see upon their return to school.
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