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Three Village Administration Confident in District's Security Practices

Principals will attend additional emergency response training in January.

Following the on Friday, the head of Three Village's emergency management team told Patch that the district is confident that its comprehensive emergency plan would hold up and keep students safe in the event of a school emergency.

Michael Owen, the dean at Ward Melville HS who heads up the district's emergency management team, described that plan as a 400-page document that addresses a wide range of scenarios. But, he said, the document has never been made public because the district doesn't want "the bad guys" to know what the district does in case of an incident.

"I would like the community to feel confident that we’re taking care of the children. I really think we are," he said. "This is not new stuff to us. We have a very, very elaborate emergency management plan."

On Friday, a statement on the district's website informed residents that information about its security protocols would be distributed in the coming week.

Owen said Three Village principals will attend a three-day training in January given by FEMA "designed to teach [them] the concepts of incident command and reaction to various kinds of emergencies."

A relocation drill is planned for February in which all students from one building will be evacuated to another district building – a yearly event – to practice in case of "any number of things that could go wrong," Owen said.

The district currently has 16 security guards who monitor all schools, including the shift at the high school which starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 11 p.m. They are all former police officers who are certified as security guards by New York State, Owen said.

He acknowledged that the district's security team has been reduced in size due to budget restraints over the past few years, and said he was unsure what the future would hold in this area.

"I think a lot of will depend on the community concerns," Owen said. "We’ve had to make some hard choices over the years. Nobody wanted to take security guards away but at some point there is no money. Every other aspect of the program has taken losses and we’re not any different."

In the coming days, Owen said the administration will be addressing its faculty and staff members regarding the tragedy in Newtown.

"I’ll be meeting first thing Monday morning with my building emergency management team, the social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors, nurses," he said. "We’ll set up a protocol to address the concerns for kids. For kids who have a hard time dealing with it, we’ll have a counselor available to help.

"We’ll certainly be reminding the security staff about the protocols for visitors," he said. "It’s an opportunity to refresh their memories a little bit and talk to our staff. It’ll be a tough day, but not as tough as in Connecticut."

Christopher D. Reilly December 17, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Y'all are getting off track. If someone was able to actually enter a school building unchallenged, that is where the problem lies. Focus on that. School doors are to be locked at a certain time; admission through visual and verbal contact only. That's where the "beef" is. Take your very valid concern to the school administration and be proactive.
SRapone December 17, 2012 at 05:11 PM
While I'm certain re: "lockdown" drills at our school, I'm uncertain whether students moved to another, more secure location outside the school. Reading the article, I'm troubled by the author's/MOwen remarks :"He acknowledged that the district's security team has been reduced in size due to budget restraints over the past few years, and said he was unsure what the future would hold in this area. 'I think a lot of will depend on the community concerns,' Owen said. 'We’ve had to make some hard choices over the years. Nobody wanted to take security guards away but at some point there is no money. Every other aspect of the program has taken losses and we’re not any different.'" Being "yes" voters @ 3VCSD Budget times, I don't recall getting a choice on security cuts. This is an area which I've personally spoken to Administration Reps in the past. It's an area of permanent concern. 9am-4pm is 35 hrs/wk. Let's remember ~ we get VERY FEW "2nd chances" in life. We are parents! We CHOSE this role as part of our mission in life ~ they are our flesh & blood, our loved ones & our future! They can't be replaced. Cutting QUALIFIED security guards troubles me deeply. I spent 10 yrs. in a Govt. Def. Corp., voluntarily fingerprinted 3x, cleared by the Govt. to handle "sensitive"/sealed documents! Don't you think our kids deserve @ least the same?! Homeland security--student security--"layered protection plan" folks. Maybe, find other areas to cut. It's not just "paranoia" anymore!!!
Tc December 17, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Well said..SRapone
Margueritte Lowe December 17, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Margueritte I worked in the Three Village School District for seven years, as a Special Ed Aide in one of the Elementary Schools. We hade lockdown drills in all the years I worked there. Each year they were held at different times in the year. I felt very safe in that school. There was always security officer in the building, who was making sure the children and staff were always safe.
SRapone December 17, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Many thanks,Tc. The "overly-protective mom" thing has gotten painfully "old". Funny, my attitude was once saluted by the military. How times change...
SRapone December 17, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Cody...couldn't agree with you more COMPLETELY!! KUDOS...
prof mom December 17, 2012 at 08:28 PM
And to be clear, I did not criticize the woman. A woman sitting in a closet behind sliding glass doors at the end of a hallway is NOT enough security for a JH. Wouldn't you agree?? The main office labeled her as "security." That is not security, that is a "kind, most loving woman." Our children's well-being should not be her responsibility. The fact is I entered through 3 doors unchallenged. And I described what a lockdown drill looks like to my girls. They have no recollection of practicing one this year, at the very least.
Tc December 17, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Kudos prof mom!! Many security loopholes need to be addressed. If this unfathomable tragedy doesn't wake up the board of ed etc. I don't know what will. Security personnel should never had been reduced this year or any year. This needs to be remedied immediately.
S Smith December 23, 2012 at 03:29 AM
I personally called the three village elementary school several times.... I was told by them that the front door was never locked. Finally, I was told that now the door is locked. HOWEVER, when I asked about their back- up security plan, if and when a person carrying a concealed weapon should gain entrance to the school, I was told that she, the assistant principle, did not know what they would do. She told me they had two girls monitoring the entrance. But when I asked what is their second line of defense should someone be admitted to the school who suddenly pulls out a hand gun and starts shooting all people in e front office, she told me she did not know. No bullet proof doors or windows for the front office. No swipe cards for admittance. No vestibule to contain people while their IDs are going though a criminal check. No appointments necessary to gain entrence to the school. Three villiage district has NOTHING but a basic system of locked doors and a nebulous 400 page document that none of us have privy to? Even security people have been let go due to budget cuts.

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