SAFEGUARDING LONG ISLAND STUDENTS

August 15, 2018 at 4:00 am

Long Island schools ramp up security as a safeguard against possible attacks. We have the details.

Aired on August 14, 2018.

 

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>> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO
"METROFOCUS."
I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.
AFTER A SCHOOL YEAR THAT WAS
TRAGICALLY DEFINED BY THE MASS
SHOOTINGS IN PARKLAND AND SANTA
FE, SCHOOL DISTRICTS ACROSS THE
COUNTRY HAVE BEEN ADAPTING TO
TRY TO MAKE THEIR CLASSROOMS
MORE SECURE.
HERE IN LONG ISLAND
SUPERINTENDENTS AND SCHOOL BOARD
MEMBERS HAVE BEEN BUSY TRYING TO
COME UP WITH NEW WAYS TO ENSURE
THE SAFETY OF THEIR STUDENTS.
SOME MAJOR CHANGES ARE ALREADY
IN PLACE ON THE ISLAND, AND MORE
ARE ON THE WAY.
HERE WITH DETAILS IS KESHA
CLUCKY.
WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
>> WHAT ARE SOME OF THESE
CHANGES WE'RE TALKING ABOUT?
>> I THINK THERE'S A NUMBER OF
THINGS GOING ON, AND MY BIGGEST
TAKEAWAY FROM THIS STORY WAS
REALLY THAT THERE'S NO ONE
APPROACH TO SCHOOL SAFETY AND
SECURITY.
IT'S A MULTIPRONGED APPROACH
WITH MANY DIFFERENT LAYERS.
FIRST OF ALL, THE THING THAT
YOU'LL SEE IN THE FALL AS
PARENTS AND STAFF COME BACK WILL
BE INFRASTRUCTURE CHANGES.
A NUMBER OF DISTRICTS ARE
PUTTING IN PLACE MORE SECURITY
CAMERAS.
A VESTIBULE, WHICH IS
ESSENTIALLY A DOUBLE DOOR THAT
LETS THEM CHECK TO MAKE SURE
WHO'S COMING IN IS SUPPOSED TO
BE WHO'S COMING IN BEFORE
THEY'RE ALLOWED ALLOWED ACCESS
TO THE SCHOOL BUILDING.
SOME ARE GOING AS FAR AS HAVING
ARMED GUARDS.
A NUMBER OF DISTRICTS ARE
CHOOSING TO DO THAT.
ALSO, JUST DIFFERENT THINGS THAT
YOU WOULDN'T ACTUALLY THINK
ABOUT LIKE, FOR EXAMPLE, IF
THERE ARE GLASS WALLS AROUND
CLASSROOMS, THEY'RE NOW
REPLACING THEM WITH WALLS THAT
YOU CAN'T SEE THROUGH, OR IN
SOME CASES GLASS THAT HAS SOME
SORT OF MEASURE ON IT THAT IS
BULLET PROOF, ALTHOUGH BULLET
PROOF GLASS IS VERY EXPENSIVE.
NOT MANY DISTRICTS ARE DOING
THAT.
>> WELL, THERE WOULD, OF COURSE,
BE THE PUSHBACK THAT WHILE ALL
OF THESE SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS
THAT ARE BEING MADE TO KEEP
STUDENTS SAFE ARE ALSO GOING TO
KEEP STUDENTS FROM FEELING SAFE
WITHIN THEIR SCHOOLS.
SCHOOL IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A
FORTRESS.
IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE A CENTER FOR
LEARNING AND EXPRESSION AND
GROWING.
AND ALL OF THAT, SOME PARENTS
MIGHT SAY, IS A--
>> IT'S A BALANCE, AND THAT'S
WHAT WE HEARD FROM ALL THE
DISTRICTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY AS
WELL AS ON LONG ISLAND ARE VERY
DIFFERENT.
THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WHY
THE STATE ISN'T NECESSARILY
TELLING DISTRICTS WHAT THEY'RE
SUPPOSED TO DO.
THEY WANT IT TO COME FROM THE
COMMUNITY AND WHAT THE COMMUNITY
FEELS COMFORTABLE WITH.
SOME COMMUNITY MEMBERS WANT TO
HAVE THOSE METAL DETECTORS.
SOME WANT TO HAVE THAT MORE
HANDS OFF APPROACH.
THERE ARE A NUMBER OF ELECTRONIC
APPS GOING ON THAT SCHOOLS ARE
SIGNING ONTO, THIS RAVE PANIC
BUTTON, A COUNTY ANNOUNCED IT'S
PROVIDING FUNDING FOR SCHOOL
DISTRICTS THAT WOULD LIKE TO USE
THE APP TO DO SO.
IT'S A PANIC BUTTON.
IT SIMULTANEOUSLY CONTACTS 911
AS WELL AS LOCAL LAW
ENFORCEMENT.
AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE TO
HAVE A SAFETY PLAN IN PLACE.
I THINK THAT'S THE BIGGEST THING
THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT ARE SAYING
IS YOU NEED TO BE PREPARED, NO
MATTER WHAT.
AND WHETHER THAT'S -- WHETHER
YOU'RE AT HOME, WHETHER YOU'RE
AT THE MOVIES, WHETHER IN A
SCHOOL BUILDING, IF IT'S A FIRE,
NO MATTER WHAT'S GOING ON YOU
NEED TO BE PREPARED, KNOW WHERE
YOUR EXITS ARE, MAKING SURE THAT
EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT TO DO IN THE
EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY.
>> NOW, WITH SO MUCH ATTENTION,
EFFORT, AND OF COURSE MONEY
GOING INTO HARDENING THE SCHOOL
EXTERIOR, UNFORTUNATELY A LOT OF
TIMES WHAT WE SEE WITH THESE
SCHOOL SHOOTINGS IS THAT
COMMITTED BY EITHER STUDENTS
FORMER STUDENTS AND THAT THERE
WAS AN ISSUE WITH THE YOUNG
PERSON AT HOME OR IN THE SCHOOL
BEFORE THE SHOOTING TOOK PLACE.
IS THERE ANYTHING BEING PUT INTO
ANY KIND OF PREVENTATIVE MEASURE
THERE?
>> I THINK THERE'S A FEW THINGS
GOING ON.
NUMBER ONE, STAFF TRAINING TO
BETTER IDENTIFY THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN A THREAT AND A KID JUST
BLOWING OFF STEAM.
I THINK WE ALL SAY THINGS.
AND ESPECIALLY, YOU KNOW, 15,
16-YEAR-OLDS, YOU TEND TO KIND
OF GO OFF.
AND THEN ALSO NEW YORK STATE
BECAME THE FIRST STATE IN THE
NATION TO REQUIRE MENTAL HEALTH
CURRICULUM WITHIN THE SCHOOL
DISTRICTS.
THAT WILL TAKE PLACE STARTING
THIS FALL.
MORE STAFFING, NOT ONLY
SECURITIWISE, BUT ALSO ON THE
MENTAL HEALTH COMPONENT.
AND COUNSELORS, SOCIAL WORKERS,
THOSE SORT OF PERSONNEL.
>> HAVE YOU GOTTEN A CHANCE TO
GET A SENSE FROM PARENTS, BUT
MORE IMPORTANTLY STUDENTS, HOW
DO THEY FEEL ABOUT GOING BACK TO
SCHOOL WITH ALL OF THESE CHANGES
THAT ARE INTENDED TO MAKE THEM
FEEL SAFER?
>> I THINK FOR THE MOST PART
WHAT WE'VE BEEN SEEING WITH
STUDENTS IS THAT THEY ARE
AFRAID.
I MEAN, THIS IS -- IT REALLY
IMPACTS YOU WHEN YOU SEE SOMEONE
LIKE YOU IN THIS SITUATION.
PARKLAND AND SANTA FE REALLY HAD
THAT SOCIAL MEDIA COMPONENT AND
REALLY, I THINK, THAT AWARENESS
HAS CONTINUED ON.
AND THE STUDENTS TODAY ARE
CONNECTED.
YOU KNOW, THEY'RE ON THEIR
MOBILE APPS, THEY'RE ONLINE,
THEY'RE ON SNAP CHAT.
THEY SAW THIS IN REALTIME GOING
ON.
AND THEY WERE AFRAID.
SO I THINK FOR SOME THEY DON'T
WANT TO -- WHILE THEY DON'T WANT
TO BE WALKING INTO A FORTRESS,
THEY ALSO DO FEEL MORE
COMFORTABLE.
THERE WAS ONE STUDENT THAT
PUBLIC HEARING WHO SAID, YOU
KNOW, I CHAT WITH MY FRIENDS
ABOUT WHERE IN THE SCHOOL WOULD
BE MORE SAFE AND WE SHOULDN'T BE
HAVING TO HAVE THAT DISCUSSION.
WE SHOULD FEEL SAFE IN ALL
ROOMS.
>> OKAY, WELL, LISTEN, THANK YOU
SO MUCH FOR YOUR REPORTING.
WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT
THERE.
OF COURSE, WE WILL BE FOLLOWING
YOUR REPORTING AS THIS NEW
SCHOOL YEAR STARTS.
HOPEFULLY WE'LL HAVE A MUCH
SAFER AND MORE SECURE SCHOOL
YEAR.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.
>> THANK YOU.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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