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School District Boosts Security

The Plainview-Old Bethpage Board of Education approved of a set of security recommendations from the district’s director of security, Nadine Eiring, and its director of facilities during a school board meeting last month, as a response to the recent bombings in Boston.

“School shootings are relatively rare, and the fact that they’re even happening at all is a major concern for every parent, student, teacher administrator, and community member,” Eiring said.  “The safety of our students is paramount to a successful learning environment, and a top priority in our community.”

With an approximate price of $200,000 over three years, recommendations included: an access control system, which allows staff access to a few doors in the building via keycards that can be deactivated individually if lost. Eiring said this will be a “benefit over what we have now, which is an antiquated old-fashioned key pad;” and a CCTV-DVR system that captures images from security cameras that can be remotely viewed from an administrators desk - images are stored for 30 days, and the system can be linked to central station monitoring.

A door-ajar alert system was also recommended, warn security and/or administrators when normally secured doors are propped open.  “A camera in the area can be programmed to take a snapshot that can be forwarded to security personnel,” Eiring said.

A Knox-Box was also recommended, which is a strongbox to store a variety of items for emergencies.  Eiring stated this would be placed near the building’s main entrance, and would be an alarmed device should it be tampered with.

Explaining the benefit of a Knox-Box, Eiring said: “When you go into lockdown (an emergency procedure that prevents anyone from exiting the building) without having this feature, the principal or head custodian has to meet the first responders, so it puts the staff in harm’s way.”

Other recommendations include monitors at the greeter’s desk, vandal-proof outdoor dome cameras, interior dome cameras, and a Mattlin Middle School and Plainview-Old Bethpage Middle School administration intercom system.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Ryan Ruf said the district is “looking to do some work in the current year,” and in the proposed budget’s transfer to capital code, there is an allocation for $60,000 to support phase (year) two of the recommendations.  

Ruf also said there is grant money available through the Department of Homeland Security. Phase one is expected to begin in a few weeks, phase two over the summer, and phase three is scheduled for the 2014-15 school year.  The district will be signing an agreement with the BOCES Command Center and begin next year.

According to Eiring, the district has partnered with Homeland Security and the Nassau County Police Department Bureau of Special Operations to develop security measures.  

Before making recommendations, two videos were displayed of a drill conducted by the Bureau of Special Operations to disarm an active shooter inside a school building - part of the drill being handling a mock pipe bomb.

“Their primary and only goal is to identify and eliminate the threat,” Eiring said.  “They took this very seriously.”

A recent table-top drill conducted with Homeland Security which demonstrated a non-custodial parent with a restraining order against him forcing his way onto school grounds and holding a district social worker at knife point. Eiring said Plainview-Old Bethpage’s table-top drill was used as a “best practice” example for other districts during a security briefing at Adelphi University this past December.

News

Driving rain and cold temperatures could not keep Long Islanders from coming out to support the first annual DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, a fundraiser for Canine Companions for Independence. Held for the first time at Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa, dogs of all breeds and sizes came with their humans with one goal in mind; to raise funds for CCI.

Massapequa resident and event organizer Yvonne Dagger, past president and now board member, discussed the importance of the event.

For as long as she could remember, Christina Amato-Smith has always wanted to open her own hair salon. The Floral Park native worked at a salon down the road from her home, but it wasn’t until 1994 when Amato-Smith made good on her promise to herself.

“I came to Bethpage to open my business because my clients were here,” said Amato-Smith, who now lives in Lindenhurst and has owned Top Cuts for 20 years.

While her business has been met with much success, in 2008, Amato-Smith’s personal life was met with a life altering challenge when she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. It was this event that prompted Top Cuts to organize a cut-a-thon to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. This year’s event occurs on Saturday, Nov. 1.


Calendar

4th Annual Harvest Festival

Saturday, Oct. 25

Health and Wellness Senior Fair

Tuesday, Oct. 28

Haunted Halloween

Wednesday, Oct. 29



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