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."