Merrick board votes down school guards
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Palma further said the district is considering several additional security measures that do not require Board of Education approval. The district has asked the Nassau County Police Department to conduct site reviews at all three elementary schools. The district is also in talks with Intralogic Solutions, Inc., a security technologies company based in Massapequa, about adding multiple security enhancements, which include possibly expanding camera coverage inside schools, a “panic button” that school staff could press to alert the rest of the building or the police about an intruder, alarms on exterior doors that are not normally supposed to be used for entry and exit, facial recognition software that would allow the schools to automatically track the presence of individuals inside buildings, and a computerized identification system that could scan visitors’ IDs, print paper badges for them to wear with their picture, name and official purpose in the building, and cross-check their name against a database of registered sex offenders. Last, the district has asked BBS Architects & Engineers, P.C., a design firm in Patchogue, to review the facilities and perimeters of the three Merrick schools and make recommendations for any physical upgrades necessary to improve security.
Palma said in a later interview that the district’s consultations with Intralogic and BBS do not require board approval because the district has existing contracts with these companies and has not made new expenditures thus far. Further work either company undertakes may eventually require board approval.
Many of the several dozen parents who attended the Feb. 5 board meeting said the steps were insufficient to safeguard the schools and their children. Thirteen of 17 people who made statements to the board said they were would like to see the district hire guards for the school buildings. These included multiple parents who identified themselves as members of “Merrick SOS.”