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Antiquated Approach to Security Puts Our Children at Risk

The Board of Education met last night and although there was a great deal of information, we would like to report to you a few points. The District highlighted over 50 actions or steps that they have taken to improve security at the schools. While we appreciate their efforts, many of these items were either already known or do not directly affect the security situation at the schools, although they do tend to improve general safety. They do not address the types of concerns that we have been voicing. Here is a sample of the types of concerns we have:


1) This organization procured an offer by the Department of Homeland Security to tour 1-2 of our school facilities as a favor to a District parent. The Board decided to make no recommendation to the District as to whether to accept this offer and even stated that they just wanted to be notified if the offer “died on the vine.” This apathy and resistance are reprehensible. There is simply no downside to taking advantage of this offer and the individual’s federal credentials should be sufficient.


2) The Scarsdale Police Department is not included in Building Security Committee, or District Emergency Response Committee meetings. How can you plan emergency response protocol without including the responders? Why does the District refuse to include police and fire personnel in their planning at all levels? There is potentially only one security professional involved in security decisions made by the District while numerous Scarsdale parents are experts in the field. Why hasn’t the District called upon their expertise?


3) Why are there no vehicular barriers (bollards, planters or large rocks) preventing vehicles from entering areas in which children are at play or preventing vehicles from going up on curbs and driving through school entrances?


4) Why hasn’t the District installed shatterproof film on the ground-level windows to the schools? If it is a matter of appearance, these can be done in a clear film… though there are both safety and heating/cooling benefits to reflective film.


5) Why can’t any staff member initiate a lockdown from any location within or outside the school buildings and why isn’t the police department automatically notified in the event of a lockdown, instead of waiting for someone to call 911? There are numerous systems that offer this functionality.


6) Why isn’t there a staff member tasked with checking the perimeter of the building several times a day to ensure doors are operational and locked? We have been told that this is a very complicated solution to implement. We fail to see the complication.


In order to keep this post from getting too lengthy, we will stop the list here. Think about these items and then imagine how many more we have identified. These are not complicated issues and some of them have very easy fixes.


Why hasn’t the District, the Board or Altaris dealt with such basic concerns? Altaris started working for the District two years ago however simple, low or no cost issues remain unremedied. Very simply put, we have lost confidence in the Board’s and the District’s ability to adequately protect our children.


Please voice your concerns to the boardofed@scarsdaleschools.org, smattey@scarsdaleschools.org and thagerman@scarsdaleschools.org. We will continue working toward solutions on our childrens’ behalf.

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