Dear Parents and Guardians:

As you know, the safety and security of our school buildings, students and staff is, and always has been, our number one priority. With that being said, the Board of Education and district administrators have spent the last several months discussing the many options to safeguard our most treasured assets – your children. Through many discussions at Board meetings, the conversation to arm our security guards has been at the forefront.

At last evening’s Board meeting, the trustees voted in favor of the placement of armed security personnel within our buildings when the students return from the holiday break. This decision was made after months of thoughtful deliberation, research and multiple conversations with law enforcement, security professionals, our insurance carrier and district lawyers.

The district will be equipping many of our existing security guards, all of whom are qualified retired police officers. Our current security staff is already aware of our buildings, students and staff as well as our security procedures. There is no need for the district to hire any new personnel. Our security personnel will undergo any necessary training if applicable and adhere to the guidelines set within the Board policy.

As always, the topic of safety and security is discussed among our staff often and we continually enhance and update our security protocols and infrastructure based on these discussions. We also constantly seek advice from and meet regularly with law enforcement authorities to ensure our personnel are well-informed and our Crisis Management Plan is updated regularly. 

Additionally, in accordance with the passage of the bond referendum in May 2018, the district will further its security enhancements at the entrances of our schools. The vestibule and door projects at each school aims to secure the perimeter and create safer entrance vestibules, including “mantraps.” Exterior doors will be replaced with new hardware, vestibules and lobbies will be reconfigured, and new security devices will be added. Designs for this project have been completed and await final comments and permit from the New York State Education Department. We anticipate the permits to be approved before the end of the year, with bids released in January.

In addition to the above, our district has also increased our efforts to support the social-emotional well-being of all students. Our mental health staff will be working with our students more closely with the goal of helping them feel connected and invested while at school. In addition to our established programs, the Sandy Hook Promise, Challenge Day, the Amityville Cultural Exchange Project and our See Something Say Something Hotline (631- 312-0620), are initiatives we began this year in an effort to ensure all kids are connected to school. Furthermore, during the budget process this spring, we will be reviewing our staffing needs in the area of mental health staff for the next school year and adding a peer mentor program.

I would like to take a moment and thank the Board of Education, district administrators and all residents who have shared their input with us during these last several months. As partners in education, it is critical to have the cooperation of our community.
I wish you a wonderful holiday season.

Sincerely,

John V. Dolan
Superintendent of Schools