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BOE Discusses Security Changes Following Sandy Hook

Credit: Rebecka Schumann
Credit: Rebecka Schumann
Story by Rebecka Schumann.

The Levittown Board of Education discussed the districts immediate and impending security changes following the Sandy Hook shooting during a public board meeting at Levittown Memorial Education Center on Wednesday night. 

The Board announced recent enhancements to the districts security operations following the Newtown shooting. Each school now only provides one heavily monitored visitor's entrance at which all visitors are now required to provide ID, wear a visitor's sticker and sign in. All exterior and classroom doors are now kept in an autolock position.  

The board has also increased the number of security cameras to MacArthur and Division High School, giving a demonstration on how school administrators and security personnel can now monitor the over 100 cameras in three of the schools with iPads. The board also discussed having iPads on hand available for first responders in the case of an emergency. 

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 Changes currently in progress include updating ID cards for staff members, reviewing intercom and buzzer access control systems and adding more radios to support playground and athletic field workers.  

While changes have been put in place, Assistant Superintendent Darlene Rhatigan, said there are still many items on the board's wish list which includes panic buttons located at visitors entrances, security booths to better manage visitors, upgrading the school's phone system and adding IP cameras to monitor large distances in front of the schools.  

"Our goal here is safety and keeping our staff and students safe," said Ratigan. "Benjamin Franklin said it best, by failing to prepare, you're preparing to fail,” she said.  

The board also discussed the possibility of working with a program developed by the Nassau County Police Department that allows authorities to monitor schools through security cameras. The system is currently in BETA and being tested by the Bethpage School District.  

"We were able to see not the cameras at the presentation exactly how they could zoom right in to what was going on in Bethpage at any room, on any level floor. It was quite amazing,” said Trustee Peggy Marenghi.  

"I think we need to analyze where this is going even if its takes us a number of years to get there, " said Vice President Peter Porrazzo who was in favor on meeting with outside security consultant teams before moving forward. 

 The next BOE meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

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