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Pearl River Schools Examine Security

The Pearl River School District met with staff and Orangetown Police to review building security.

Pearl River Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Morgano wrote a letter to parents outlining the steps the district took Monday in reaction to the .

"There is no greater concern for us as parents, educators and community members than the safety of our children," Morgano wrote. 

One significant change is the decision to lock the main doors into Pearl River Middle School and Evans Park, Franklin Avenue and Lincoln Avenue Elementary Schools through at least the end of this week.

Pearl River administrators also met with Orangetown Police Monday morning to review safety procedures. Orangetown Police Chief Kevin Nulty said that his department reached out to the schools in Orangetown to offer assistance Friday. According to Morgano, there will be an increased police presence on school grounds.

Each building in the district held staff meetings and there was a district-wide meeting of administrators, which focused on reviewing safety plans.

Many other Rockland County superintendents sent out similar letters Monday, including one by Nanuet's Mark McNeill. 

Morgano wrote that district staff tried to stay as close to normal routine for students as possible, dealing with questions as necessary. 

A copy of the full letter is attached to this report, including a list of suggestions for talking with children about violence. The full list of actions taken by the district Monday is as follows:

  • A brief staff meeting was held in each school prior to student arrival this morning. 
  • Central office administrators were present during student and staff arrival in the morning. 
  • Main doors to the elementary and middle schools will be locked at least throughout the week. We ask for your 
  • patience and cooperation if you are coming to the building during the school day. 
  • A district-wide administration meeting was held to review each school building’s safety plans. 
  • Several safety drills have already taken place since the start of the school year in every school. Additional drills 
  • will take place in January and continue through the remainder of the school year. Building principals will send 
  • more information regarding these drills when we return from winter break as appropriate. 
  • District administrators met with Orangetown Police Department this morning to review school safety 
  • procedures. They will be increasing their presence on our school properties. 
  • Faculty meetings were held after school to debrief and review emergency procedures. 
  • The district will be taking feedback from each of the buildings to determine what, if any, additional safety measures need to be put in place.
Kelly Garrett December 18, 2012 at 12:27 PM
i agree! security needs to begin at the entrance of the school property. it is very easy to access entry into the schools. i dont care about the inconvenience or the cost, safety is the number one concern.
Mad Dog December 18, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Both Morgano and Mitchell pay lip service to school security. When it came time to make a decision on whether Orangetown Police Officers would remain in the high schools both of them decided they were not worth the money. They quibled about who should pay for the officers. Now neither HS has an SRO. As we can all see the violence is now extending to elementary schools. Im not saying a cop should be in every single school facility at all times but a serious discussion needs to be had about placing some type of armed security in all the schools at all times. Retired or off duty police officers perhaps. These men simply are not serious about protecting children and if the community opposes it for financial reasons then shame on the community.
Jimmy December 18, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Lock all doors, intercom to office with camera. If someone wants to get in they will find a way. After all it is not a jail. Crazy people could act in other ways too, but i wouldn't go into detail here. Their is no magic answer. We should take prudent steps to prevent any incidents as best we can. Nothing would be 100% that is why we must remain vigilant.
The Merm December 19, 2012 at 01:28 AM
The type of tragedy that took place in Newtown, CT is impossible to protect yourself against. If a person is so mentally deranged and hell-bent on killing children, the only way to have full security would be the following. You would have to transport children to school in armored vehicles, search each child as they enter a brick, windowless building which would be locked at all times, and the children could never leave the building (recess,gym classes) until dismissal time, when they reenter an armored vehicle to return home. You would close all parks/playgrounds, end all youth sports programs, end all youth programs completely, and require that children can never leave their home to go out and play. Absurd?... absolutely! A more realistic preventative measure would be REQUIRED mental health evaluation/treatment for anyone who is giving out signals of mental health issues in the judgement of school personnel, law enforcement personnel, work personnel, and clergy members. Adam Lanza's mother did not use good judgement keeping guns in the home with a young man who was obviously disturbed. Adam Lanza's father is equally at fault for not over-riding his ex-wife's poor decision. There is a lot of blame to go around here.
Nicole Marie December 19, 2012 at 02:37 AM
I agree. The resource officer that was there when I was in High School offered protection, guidance, a shoulder to lean on, and served as a great role model. Every school should have one.

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