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Superintendent: 'We Are a Caring Community'

In the wake of Friday's gruesome tragedy in CT, our superintendent Dr. Howard Smith wants to address security issues raised here and assist any struggling to cope.

Message from the Superintendent Regarding the Tragedy in Connecticut:

As I noted to our staff, it is especially difficult for people in our profession to deal with the imagery of someone entering an elementary school and going on shooting rampage.  Apart from the raw emotional impact of what happened somewhere else, it leaves us anxious about our own security as well as the security of our students.  I can only imagine how shaken it leaves parents who send their children to school every day trusting that they will return safely at the end of the day.    

We have systems in place that meet generally accepted standards of school security in New York State.  However, if anyone has questions or concerns about school security, please do not hesitate to contact me.  We will compile a list of any issues that are raised and seek expert advise on how to address them.  Meanwhile, if you have a child who is struggling to cope with what happened, or if you yourself are struggling, please do not hesitate to contact a counselor, school psychologist, or social worker at your child's school.  No one should feel like they have to handle this on their own.  We are a caring community and will do whatever we need to do to take care of one another.

Sadly, Howard Smith

Mark Liflander December 15, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Thank you, Mr. Smith. Your message is appreciated.
Christina Kharem December 15, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Thank you for your message, Dr. Smith.
mk December 16, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I would love to know the security policy and if things will change for our school system because of this most recent horrific event. I was shocked last week, when I went to talk to an secretary at John Paulding around 10AM on a school day. The 2 front doors were unlocked, the first floor empty, and I was able to walk right upstairs without anyone taking notice. I have a young child about to enter the Tarrytown public school system and Newtown's tragedy has left me quite unnerved questioning, and scared. This could have been our school. These could have been our children. School shootings are happening more and more frequently and security must be taken seriously every single day! How will Tarrytown public schools assure the safety of our children and protect them against violence that is more and more rampant?
Krista Madsen (Editor) December 16, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Good questions and I will ask him more specifics. One thing at John Paulding however is that you do need to be buzzed in the front door, though I'm not sure if someone is looking at video of who is buzzing and would that matter?
DL December 16, 2012 at 04:57 AM
I'm not sure if there's a video feed - I think Dr Smith can confirm that for us. I can say however, that I have buzzed in many times to the different school buildings, and no one has ever come out into the hallways to greet me. I would like to believe that the protocol would be that if I didn't walk into the offices to sign in - that someone would come out of the office pretty quickly. But, I'm not so confident of that either. I know in my office, we have a video feed, and our protocol is to view, buzz and greet the person - don't let them come all the way to you - you go to them. I'm thinking that the schools should be that way too.
mk December 16, 2012 at 01:59 PM
In my case last week, I was not buzzed in or greeted at JP. Both doors were simply unlocked (school was already in session). In this day in age I find this alarming, and now unacceptable.
Karina Arreola January 04, 2013 at 04:49 AM
Yes, at WI school nobody comes to you. They just let you in and don't come to you. My daughter is on 3rd grade, and just 4 days after the tragedy in Connecticut a note was on her classroom on the dry erase board. The note said "Hello, today is a great day to die" My husband and I, went the next day to talk to the Principal. They "think" there was a High School Student who did it, but I'm still waiting for answers or results from the investigation. We NEED cameras in the schools 24/7

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