Merrick District spending $200K to upgrade security

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• A “dedicated main entrance greeter” at each school, who will be trained in “emergency protocols, custodial law issues, questioning protocols and conflict resolution.” The greeter will also control the intercom and visitor management kiosk, have access to the panic system and camera monitoring and will have the authority to initiate a lockdown.

To date, Altaris, which the Merrick board voted on Feb. 5 to retain on a $28,000 consulting contract, has conducted site visits at each school and held an assessment overview meeting with school officials and a Nassau County police officer, according to a slide-show presentation that Palma gave at the board’s meeting last week, before it voted to approve the new security measures.

Palma said that the district would likely act on another Altaris recommendation: to invite local police officers to park in their patrol cars in the schools’ lots any time they desire, whether or not they have been summoned to the school, to show a police presence on campus and to survey the grounds.

More Altaris site visits are scheduled, and further security recommendations are possible.

BBS Architects & Engineers P.C., a design firm based in Patchogue, has also conducted site visits at the schools and completed “preliminary design evaluation[s] for secured vestibule[s]” at Birch and Chatterton, according to Palma’s report. Levy-Lakeside is the only Merrick school that has a double-door vestibule at its front entrance.

Palma said that further architectural design work may require Board of Education authorization, and construction of vestibules at Birch and Chatterton may require State Education Department authorization.

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