School safety discussed at Eldred
ELDRED, NY — Citing the number and importance of the issues before them, particularly regarding safety and the upcoming budget, the Eldred School Board agreed to meet twice monthly through June at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month.
The crisis in Parkland, FL touched the nerves of the many parents, teachers and other concerned citizens in attendance as they heard about measures being taken at the Eldred schools to enhance safety. And they were not shy as they weighed in with suggestions of their own.
Superintendent Dr. John Morgano listed a number of actions that were being taken immediately. These include re-coring all of the exterior door locks, creating only one entryway and installing panic bars on the 40 other doors at the two schools, adjusting the high school security-personnel hours, requesting that police attend dismissal as often as possible at both schools, blocking the elementary school exit road until buses leave and reschedule the high school fitness-center hours to keep adult use and student use separate. He also mentioned other measures that would take longer to implement or are under consideration.
The district clerk noted each comment received from the public, and Morgano invited emails or phone calls to share other ideas. Welcoming the input, he said, “We are a partnership, and nothing is more important than the safety of our students.” He also stated that the best safety measure is: “see something, say something.” He noted that this is not a district of 6,000 students; the students know each other.
The greatest exchange of ideas concerned the possible arming of the security personnel at each school. At first, board president Carol Bliefernich said that the security guards are not currently armed and that such action would not be considered. After several members of the public pushed back on that comment, it was agreed that further consideration would be given to the idea. Mike Paradisis, who serves as security officer at the elementary school, said that he and Anthony Del Villar, who serves the high school, are already trained and certified to carry weapons and that they welcomed the action. His comment was met with applause by the audience.
Resident George Speer commented that the best way to deal with security issues is through vigilance at home and as a community. He suggested that parents monitor what their children are doing online, and that parents and children alike should turn off devices and talk.
Other questions were fielded regarding the status of the pre-Kindergarten program in the next school year. Only one class will be offered, down from the current two sessions. The size of the class is limited to 17 by state mandate. Morgano said that it was not expected that more than 17 would be registering, but if that did occur, the spaces would be filled through a lottery.