The hiring of two additional security guards was approved by the Glen Cove Board of Education during their Jan. 29 regular meeting. Another two security guards will be hired for the next school year. A request submitted to the board by the head of school district security, Don Schutt, included the hiring of four security guards, the installation of a closed-circuit television system at the high school and CPR/first aid training for all security personnel. The additional guards will be immediately hired thus creating a second level of supervision at the high school and middle school, enabling Mr. Schutt to have coverage when he is called to an emergency in any of the district's buildings. Board member Dr. Rodger Silletti noted that since the board was creating a new position, a job description for each would be necessary. "The proposal is hastily prepared, we need a full needs analysis. I would like to see a well-thought-out, comprehensive plan. We should call in experts and the Glen Cove Police Department," said Dr. Silletti. He added that in considering the class cutting situation at the high school, the board discussed the matter for a full year before coming up with a solution. Board member Carol Sucharski said, "We have a safety problem at the high school and we need to hire two security guards now." In response to board member Phil Enright's query, "Do we have an immediate safety problem at the high school? " board president Vito Abbondandolo said, " Mr. Schutt needs more hands to keep things in order when security guards call in sick or worse." The need for increased security measures at the high school resurfaced during public comments when Bill Basdavanos said the proposal for this action meant the district had a problem. "What kind of problem do we have? What's going on?" asked Mr. Basdavanos. Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellen Freeley said managing the number of kids in a building with five guards is a large task. "We had two students who brought a knife to school-they were suspended---and students who believe they're members of gangs," said Dr. Freeley. Mr. Basdavanos said he didn't think the school district should skirt around the issue if there is a problem in the high school. "Let's be up front about it and do what we have to do," said Mr. Basdavanos. A female resident who is a substitute teacher in the district said she was intimated at the thought of walking into certain areas of the high school building because of things that have happened at the school. She said there is no way any teacher would take on the responsibility of patrolling the halls or cafeterias to ensure security.
The two guards will be positioned in the high school cafeterias where things traditionally heat up between students. According to a Glen Cove Police Department spokesperson, the issue of gangs at the high school has a different definition than that most readily called to mind. The spokesperson said there seems to be tensions between black and Hispanic students. Either group of students wears the colors of notorious gangs in different parts of our country-Bloods, Crips and Latin Kings, to name a few. (A red bandana is the Bloods tag). The students then band together, thinking they are cool. The spokesperson said there have been a number of fights between the groups after school, where everyone joins the fight in the whirlwind of pandemonium. "We need to get a hold of the leaders of these groups. The high school administration and security personnel are extremely cooperative with the police department. We are on the phone, in constant communication all the time," he said.
The board approved the new 7th and 8th grade math textbooks and English literature material. A second reading of the school district's policy on weapons or other dangerous devices in school was conducted by the board. All school district policies are available for public review in the Thayer House administration building, next door to the high school. The school board set Saturday, April 28 as the date for voter registration in the upcoming school board election and budget vote. The board's attorney will check with the county board of elections regarding how proof of citizenship can be ascertained for a potential voter.
The reading of three district policies related to Special Education was tabled and will be conducted at the next work session, (Feb.5), of the board. At board member Bob Lupinskie's request, Special Education coordinator Mary Murphy will attend that meeting to inform the board on several Special Education initiatives, including the concept of inclusion.