Written by Michael Scro, email@example.com Friday, 10 May 2013 00:00
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.