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Wednesday, September 24, 2014
After Newtown: Rockville Centre schools take new look at security

In the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Rockville Centre School District officials are reviewing the district’s security protocols.

According to Superintendent Dr. William Johnson, the faculty and staff are aware of what should be done in the case of an emergency. “This morning, the principals met with their faculties to go over all the methodology and safety procedures we have in place, to make sure everyone is fully aware of what they are and to make sure they would be enacted immediately if they were ever necessary,” Johnson said on Monday. “It’s such an unspeakable tragedy that it’s hard to think about, but I believe our schools are safe.”

Johnson said that as part of the district’s security guidelines, most doors to the schools are locked, and in most cases visitors can be seen on a camera. There are also security guards in the middle school and one at the entrance to the high school.

“We just want to make sure that all people in the buildings are vigilant and aware of what is going on outside and inside the building, and report any strange behavior or activity they consider suspicious,” he said. “I don’t know what signals there could have been to head this thing off, but one of the better ways to deal with it is to act as a community to watch each other and keep each other safe, and not be afraid to report anything suspicious.”

Board of Education President Liz Dion said that she considers most of the district secure, but there are issues at South Side High School that she hopes can be addressed. Because students need to go back and forth between the school’s portable classrooms, the doors at the back of the school cannot be locked during the day.

Dion said that one of the issues that had been discussed in anticipation of the district’s upcoming bond vote (story, page 3) was the possibility of adding on to the main building in order to eliminate the need for the portables.

“We will be looking at everything,” Dion said, adding of the Newtown shootings, “It’s an unbelievable tragedy, and it makes us think about everything we do.”

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