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Plainview Schools to Review Security Plans

District officials worked through the weekend to prepare for opening; more study planned.

Plainview's top school administrators worked through the weekend reviewing the district's security measures in the wake of the heinous school shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.

Dr. Lorna Lewis, Plainview's Superintendent, told the Board of Education Monday night that the district had additional security in place Monday and was ready to counsel students who needed to talk about Friday's tragedy in Newtown.

The district tightened its security measures, especially at its morning- and after-school centers, Lewis said, and will conduct a new security audit of its buildings and emergency planning.

Friday's horrific events weighed heavily over Monday's Board of Education meeting.

The evening opened with a short concert by the Plainview JFK Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Glenn Rubin. One of the pieces performed was a solemn string composition called "Confluence." Rubin dedicated it as "a memorial for Newtown."

Board President Amy Pierno began the regular meeting with 26 seconds of silence, one for each of the children and teachers murdered on Friday.

"Safety and security of our students is always paramount, and we are always looking for ways to make improvements," Dr. Lewis said. "We've just experienced a horrific event."

She acknowledged that the before- and after-school hours were not being monitored as closely as they could have been. The district fixed the problem on Monday, she said, a fact confirmed by one parent who thanked the board for the additional measures.

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Going forward, the district will examine additional surveillance equipment, security personnel and an updated emergency plan.

The district already has a detailed plan in place that was rehearsed in a "table top" exercise during the last school year, said Ryan Ruf, the district's assistant superintendent for business.

During that exercise, school officials worked with the federal Office of Homeland Security and were joined by members of the Nassau County SWAT team and Emergency Services Unit, along with Plainview firefighters and other first responders. Ruf said that plan will be reviewed again in the wake of the tragedy and updated as needed.

LS December 19, 2012 at 04:51 AM
Agree that things can be done to make our schools safer. Mattlin MS and that huge, open, unstaffed entrance comes to mind, as well as all the various entrances, most with glass doors. The shooter in Connecticut shot the glass out so he could unlock the doors. It seems to me that many of our schools' doors are all glass. Why not look into replacing them with something a bit more secure?
Simba December 19, 2012 at 09:51 AM
Why don't the schools do the same as businesses do, have a manned single point of entry gate. In order to get on the property, you would need a security guard to let you through. Think about what happened in Newtown. The shooter had all the time to drive up to school, get out of car, arm himself, which would of taken time considering what he brought into the school, load the weapons and then proceed to the front door. All of that could of been stopped at a front gate. Next time you dropp your kids off to school, pay attention of how simple it was to drive right up, no one questions you, even if you could easily do it during school hours.
Jeannette Donovan December 19, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Just a thought - what about 1 entrance only - an armed guard who would check everyone with or without an appointment - one at a time - just like they have at the court system or at airports.?
Gerard December 20, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Maybe we need a Nassau County PD School Safety Division like the NYPD has. The last few years when I went to pick up my child from JFKHS during school hours the "security" was minimal at best. Driving up to JFK you are stopped by a "guard" who is probably on the maintenance/custodial staff doing extra duty. He inquires my business then directs me to the parking area. From there I walk into the lobby and an older lady is sitting by a desk. I sign in and may or may not be asked to show a photo ID. From there I go to the office to wait. Not to disparage what these people do, but if I had mayhem in mind...well you can imagine the outcome!! But of course starting a School Safety Division costs $$$$$$ and we know Nassau County has an abundance of that!!
J Boyd December 21, 2012 at 11:51 PM
the one entrance point is nice but...fire safety regs say all doors must have egress. They are all locked from the outside but your children open the doors or keep them chocked open for themselves and their friends. As upsetting as this event is, teenagers all believe it won't happen to them. So they will continue to open those doors. Yes--extra guards are needed. I believe there should be armed guards also. There are many able bodied retirees that could be hired. Unfortunately I believe this is a necessity. Parents must also look at there own homes and make the proper adjustments. I will leave that last line just like that!

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