District 24 to bolster security
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He also said that at two schools — William L. Buck and Robert W. Carbonaro — there are hallway areas being used to house ESL classes. Shea said those instructional areas need to be relocated. “If the children had to get out of that school in a timely manner, they’re not going to do that,” he said. “That situation’s got to change. You’ve got to get the kids out of the hallway.”
Shea said that the cost of his recommendations would be about $15,000 per school for equipment. However, he said it would be a one-time cost. The biggest expense would be salaries for security guards, which he said should be state certified security officers. He said it is unlikely a retired police officer would take the job. “I don’t know too many cops that would sit at a front desk,” he said. “It’s just a fact of life.”
One recommendation that Shea said would be too costly would be to replace every classroom door. He said the doors are inadequate, especially because of the large windows that are easy to break. Over time, Shea said the district should replace the doors with solid wood or metal ones, with locks on the inside and small windows that are high off the floor.
Board of Education President Tony Iadevaio said the Board of Education is weighing the recommendations, as well as other proposals, and will discuss safety upgrades at future meetings. He said the board does plan to set aside money in the budget next year for security enhancements.
Shea said taking some simple steps to limit access at the school’s main entrance can go a long way in keeping unwanted visitors out. The biggest problem for schools aren’t “active shooters” like in Newtown, he said, but “homegrown” issues often relating to family conflicts.
“You know how concerned we are as a community over the safety and security of our children,” said Superintendent Dr. Edward Fale. “We take great precautions with our school buildings. We try to be as vigilant as we possibly can.”