"We have to change our culture of safety and security in this country and Three Village is not immune to that. We have to work hard as a team," said Jack Blaum, who owns the security firm Island Compliance Corporation, which began contracting with the TVCSD in June.
According to Blaum and district architect John Grillo, the changes that are being made in the district include:
- The addition of vestibules at the main entrance to each building except for Ward Melville High School, where visitors will be required to check in with identification. The vestibules will feature two-way intercoms with cameras. Nassakeag Elementary will have two vestibules because of the building's layout.
- Exterior lighting repairs at each building.
- A strict policy on locking the doors at each school.
- Removing shrubs and plantings on school grounds that "obstruct tactical observation," or the ability of the security officers to see the buildings and grounds clearly.
- Sharing radio frequencies between the Setauket and Stony Brook fire departments, as well as moving radio controls from Ward Melville HS to the top of Stony Brook University's Health Sciences Center, which Blaum said increased the district's bandwidth ten-fold.
- Monitoring of district security patrol vehicles location by the use of GPS.
- Establishing a simplified emergency notification system utilizing the current email system.
- Installing high-security classroom locks, which no longer require the teachers to go out into the hallway to lock their doors.
- Upgrading and repositioning existing security cameras and installing additional cameras to total approximately 500 cameras district-wide.
Staff training also a major component of the district's new approach to safety and security, with faculty and staff members undergoing seminars during the superintendent's conference days prior to the start of classes. They engaged in a simulated natural gas explosion at Murphy Junior High, which "gave our personnel a chance to try some of the new techniques they were taught," Blaum said.
A parent meeting is being planned for October for the community to further understand the security improvements and policy changes.
"Our goal, as is every parent's expectation, is that our children will go to school in the morning and come home in the afternoon safely," Blaum said.