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
"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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