Only a month and a half into the new year, the 18th school shooting of 2018 brings our country’s average to one heartbreaking school massacre every 60 hours. Following the fatal shooting of 17 victims and the injuring of more than a dozen at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, by a 19-year old former student who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons and returned on Feb. 14 armed with a semiautomatic rifle, our community has questioned what our schools are doing to keep our children safe.
Dr. Teresa Prendergast, superintendent of Great Neck Public Schools, explained our district’s safety procedures.
“We take school safety and security very seriously,” said Prendergast. “The district has been vigilant in its efforts to train all school personnel and to familiarize students with
various safety protocols. School safety personnel have received training in cooperation with the police department, Nassau BOCES and the New York State Department of Homeland Security. Our entrance security guards also receive two days of staff development training each year.”
She also discussed the preparation provided to the students.
“Each school conducts unannounced evacuation and lock down drills so that students and staff are practiced in emergencies on school grounds,” noted the superintendent. “The district adopted the LobbyGuard Visitor Management System to register visitors to our schools, and we have a closed circuit video surveillance system. Schools are staffed with New York State–certified security guards, and marked and unmarked security vehicle mobile patrols the district throughout the school day.”
The district will take every pre-caution to keep our children safe, but values input from the community.
“We will continue to work collaboratively as a school community of administrators, teachers, parents and staff to ensure the safety of our students,” Prendergast added. “Informed communities play a critical role in keeping our loved ones safe. If a parent or student sees or hears something that might threaten the safety of someone in our school community, it is important to report any concerns to the proper authorities.”
Read more about the tragedy in “Local Officials Respond to Latest School Shooting.”