In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School additional security measures have been established in Three Village schools, according to the Board of Education, which also said in a statement on Tuesday that the district won't use armed security guards in its schools.
In a lengthy statement delivered by board president Dr. Jeffrey Kerman, the district said it had already completed a comprehensive review of its safety and security procedures prior to the events of Dec. 14 in Newtown, Connecticut.
"This profound tragedy has brought to light issues of vulnerability and has caused school districts across our country to re-examine security and safety procedures and protocols," the statement reads. "Three Village has been and is continuing to assess the infrastructure of our buildings and technology, reinforcing the safety of our facilities, and strengthening security measures and processes."
The Board also responded to the NRA's statement that armed guards should be present in schools.
"We do not support this position," the Board said in its statement. "While we maintain an excellent and collaborative relationship with our local police force and welcome their presence in and around our schools, we do not believe that arming our security personnel is a prudent decision."
However, at least one resident at Tuesday's school board meeting said he believes that armed security guards in the schools should be used. Thomas May, a retired New York City firefighter, said he feels the benefit of having armed guards in schools would outweigh any general risk posed by having firearms in the schools.
"An armed police officer in the school, a retired police officer, I think is the best defense. Someone who can at least slow down a perpetrator in the school," May said. "...To me a security guard without a firearm is useless."
"I really think you’ve got the best trained security force already in your school district, except they’re unarmed," he added.
According to the school board, the following measures have been implemented recently or in response to Sandy Hook:
- The doors of all elementary schools and junior high schools will be locked after arrival in the morning.
- Buzzers are being installed in every building. Visitors and staff who are re-entering the building must be buzzed in and show photo identification.
- At Ward Melville HS, security guards are stationed at all three open entrances to the school, and visitors must show photo identification.
- Security guards will be stationed at all five elementary schools.
- The district will establish a Director of Security position to be paid for by the monies obtained through the recent management efficiency grant.
- More than 200 security cameras had already been put in place prior to this school year.
- Lockdown and lockout drills will be practiced unannounced at each building.
- Continued training and staff development for all district faculty and staff.
On Wednesday, assistant superintendent Jeff Carlson said the disrtict is also readying to work with an outside company on improving security protocols.
"What we've asked for is companies to give us proposals, give us some ideas," he said. "We'll see what they come up with."
The Board of Education also said additional security measures are in place that cannot be discussed publicly due to the sensitive nature of the system.
"While there will be changes in our security systems and protocols that may be obvious and those that we will openly share with the public, there are other security and safety measures that we cannot acknowledge, as providing this information to the public will attenuate our security protocols and jeopardize the safety of our students, staff and visitors," the Board said in the statement. "We ask for your trust and confidence, recognizing that our intentions are to create school environments that place safety as a top priority."
For the complete statement from the school board regarding security, refer to the PDF attached to this article.