While the approval of the 2012-13 school budget meant the elimination of four elementary school security guard positions, those guards were back on duty on Monday at Setauket Elementary, W.S. Mount Elementary, Nassakeag Elementary, and Minneauke Elementary.
Their re-instatement was a unanimous decision at the Jan. 22 Board of Education meeting.
"As we re-evaluate the district’s security needs, we are now in the process of bringing people back," Gary Dabrusky, assistant superintendent for human resources, said during the meeting.
Arrowhead Elementary along with the two junior high schools and Ward Melville High School had retained security guards despite the budget cuts.
Security guards the elementary schools are paid $16.94 per hour, according to district records. They do not receive benefits. Patch previously reported that Three Village school officials have said the district's security guards are retired law enforcement professionals.
The move comes as the Three Village school district examines its school security procedures and protocols in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Patch previously reported that Three Village school officials said they won't use armed security guards but that they would step up other security measures in all of its schools.
"As a mom, I am very pleased the security guards are back in place at the four elementary schools," school board trustee Deanna Bavlnka told Patch.
School board vice president Jonathan Kornreich said while security measures such as adding vestibules are necessary, he would also like to see more attention placed on expanding social services within the school community to address the issue of "mental and physical violence" that often causes one to feel marginalized and present a danger to themselves or others.
"In a climate of acute fear, there is an obvious reflex to harden our schools, to add new security features and to bring in more guards," he said. "Some of these improvements are absolutely necessary. ... However, devoting our limited resources to help create the illusion that we can make our schools impregnable fortresses may hinder our ability to pursue strategies which may make a bigger difference over the long term."
The school board is expected to revisit the security topic at its next meeting on Feb. 12, Bavlnka said.