Lest we believe that our village is a bubble, we have unfortunately been reminded that the scourge of guns and potential violence reaches across states and communities. Recently a 23 year-old man was turned in by his mother for possession of automatic rifles, possession of which is a felony. Would these weapons have been used in an act of mass violence? We will fortunately never know due to the bravery of this young man’s mother who prioritized the welfare of our community, and is a hero. Our gratitude should know no bounds for the difficult decision that she ultimately made.
School security is unfortunately again top of mind given recent atrocities in other parts of the country. Mental health resources have an essential role in preventing school violence, but are not enough. Given his age, school-based mental health programs would not have even reached the man who was arrested locally. Our broader school security solution must be multi-pronged, complementing mental health support with both traditional and cutting edge security tools, measures, and practices.
The community, school district, and school board have no doubt had a challenging run over the last few years, As the leadership of the district turns over, and we head into what hopefully is a more normalized educational environment for the first time in 3 years, it would seem to be an opportune time to reinvigorate focus, efforts, and practices around school security. It’s not worth detailing the broader mass violence climate. You all see what we see, the backdrop certainly isn’t improving.
It has been a while, but we reiterate our call for the District and Board of Education to re-focus efforts on school security. Given how vested we all are in the outcome, we continue to recommend the establishment of an advisory subcommittee to the Board of Education that focuses solely on school security. This group can be comprised of community experts in areas such as broader school security, emergency response and mental health. We live in a village replete with highly intelligent professionals, with expertise across a seemingly infinite number of fields. The District and Board should welcome expertise, and find ways to leverage our community’s resources to learn about a topic as complicated and critical as school security. Past administrations have not been welcoming to volunteerism, community cooperation and advice. We hope this view has evolved over time.
Several years ago, this coalition called for measures including lock down systems, upgraded cell phone reception and WiFi signals, and numerous building specific upgrades. Several of these were implemented, but many are only now being investigated. Let’s take advantage of Scarsdale resources that are here and present to help brainstorm, evaluate, and prioritize the many things our schools and personnel need to better protect our children.
The threats we face are real, and despite how uncomfortable it is to consider and discuss, they need to be confronted and addressed. We respectfully request/suggest that the broader Scarsdale educational community prioritize school security, to help mitigate the risks that pervade each and every community, including ours.