Several parents brought up a petition that some Merrick parents circulated in early 2013, shortly after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that called on the Merrick School District to station licensed, unarmed guards outside the entrances to its schools.
“We need human eyes. We need a person,” said Jodi Turk-Goldberg, a Lakeside parent who helped lead the petition drive earlier this year. “The cops cannot make it. They have something going on. They have other, bigger things going on. We need a person patrolling the school.”
The Board of Education debated hiring school guards at length in a well-attended board meeting in February before publicly voting against doing so. The board instead opted to sign a contract with Altaris Consulting Group, LLC, a security consulting firm based in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., to perform a “security audit” at the district’s three schools. Altaris recommended a number of other security enhancements that the district implemented and the Herald reported on in numerous articles.