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Brewster Schools Examining Security After Sandy Hook Tragedy

Officials said the incident seemed to be affecting some high schoolers, who appeared "somber and serious," Monday morning.

Administrators with the Brewster Central Schools are slated to gather Monday afternoon to discuss possible changes in security following the school shooting that left more than two dozen dead in Sandy Hook Friday.

The meeting is intended to be a "debriefing" of sorts for principals and other administrators who are expected to share thoughts on beefing up safety procedures. Officials said they would release specifics on any changes once they are available, as the discussion will be an "ongoing" one.

"We're in listening mode now, we're taking it all in," Board of Education President Dr. Steven Jambor said Monday morning.

Jambor, along with Deputy Superintendent Tim Conway and Superintendent Dr. Jane Sandbank, visited each of the district's four buildings Monday morning to get a sense of the mood amongst faculty, staff and students.

"At JFK, you couldnt tell anything was different," Jambor said, adding that the energy there—from the district's youngest students—was "good." 

Things were a bit different at the high school, where some of the kids were "serious and somber."

"They're figuring out ways to appropriately respond and show support," Jambor said.

Teachers were prepared to deal with those feelings, as principals met with instructors early Monday morning and "laid out the game plan," Jambor, a psychologist, told Patch. Part of the plan was remembering that "there is no perfect response" when students ask about the tragedy.

"Your best approach is to show them that business is carrying on," he said, adding that teachers were aware of other age-appropriate responses for kids who may have been feeling some anxiety. 

That anxiety is something school officials are aware of. They took it into consideration when giving the OK for the school resource officer (SRO), a deputy with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office who is usually stationed at the high school, to spend some time at JFK Monday.

"Children in buildlings that don't have an SRO could start to wonder," he said. "We're walking a fine line between trying to be proactive and alarming."

Luanne Manteo December 17, 2012 at 07:59 PM
JFK and CV Starr have locked doors with personnel will buzz in someone they know. They do not have this at the high school. I have walked thru the doors of the high school many times over the past five years. You are directed by a sign to go to the office. This is not a secure building and it needs to be corrected so that a horrific incident does not occur in our district. Luanne Manteo
A Charbonneau December 17, 2012 at 08:40 PM
ACharbonneau I walked into CV STARR for parent teacher conference at 8 am and the door wasn't locked I walked right in and no one even asked me who I was or what I was doing there....pretty scary
Chris Arnold December 17, 2012 at 10:08 PM
The most secure building is Wells, followed by CVStarr (only during school hours apparently). The high school is now finally using their buzzer system. JFK is the worst example of security. I used to deliver PTA newsletters (a few years ago) and the doors would unlock as soon as I pressed the buzzer, so I always would wonder if they actually were looking at who was at the door. I've heard from a current parent that it hasn't changed. I think it would be worth the district to look into bullet proof glass for the security interface area as well as a security system that lets out an alarm to the whole school if the system is breached, as well as an alarm to the state/local police and fire departments. I don't know if it's allowed, but I think it would be good if teachers were armed with mace for similar school shootings, if only to be used to disarm the shooter, since teachers can't have guns in school. Those poor teachers at Sandy Hook needed more to shield their students besides their own bodies.
Ann Fanizzi December 18, 2012 at 08:32 AM
Arm the teachers but continue selling assault rifles!!! Here are some statistics: As of Aug. 1st, there are more than 129,817 federally licensed firearms dealers in the United States, according to the latest BTF numbers .Compared with the following as of 2011: Gas Stations in the U.S. 143,839; Grocery Stores in the U.S. 36,569; McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. 14,098 . ATF reports, in 2010 there were 5,459,240 new firearms manufactured in the United States, (95 percent) for the U.S. market. An additional 3,252,404 firearms were imported to the United States. You can buy a gun if you don’t have a criminal record and you have not been adjudicated as mentally incompetent. In 2010 the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) ran 16,454,951 background checks for firearms purchases. Only 78,211 or 0.48 percent) were denied. The number of people killed by firearms in the United States remains high. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, between 2006 and 2010 47,856 people were murdered in the U.S. by firearms, more than twice as many as were killed by all other means combined. Statistics compiled by Jack Date, Pierre Thomas and Jason Ryan.
Nikki Brewster December 18, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Hey ANN, While on your ever constant soap box, in which most of us just hear noise from you; according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 2006 and 2010, 171,313* people died in vehicle accidents. 171,313 fatalities, is three times as many as were killed by GUNS in the same period. So how is it that “between 2006 and 2010 47,856 people were murdered in the U.S. by firearms, more than twice as many as were killed by all other means combined”? *Statistics complied with common sense and due diligence.
sheri December 18, 2012 at 02:36 PM
That was the same situation in Newtown Luanne. He broke the window. What makes you think that this makes it a secure building? Something needs to be done. There should be a SRO (armed) in each school but the liberals "dont want their rights infringed on". Let me tell you, this never would have happened if we had an officer in each school. You cant have it both ways. Hindsight is 20/20 however people who whine are the ones that complain about TSA in the airports. If you want safety, be prepared to be inconvenienced a bit and quit whining about it.
sheri December 18, 2012 at 02:37 PM
None of them are secure buildings.
sheri December 18, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Well said Chris.
Carolyn December 18, 2012 at 02:44 PM
"I think it would be worth the district to look into bullet proof glass for the security interface area as well as a security system that lets out an alarm to the whole school if the system is breached, as well as an alarm to the state/local police and fire departments." This is something we can do at the local level without waiting for the state or federal government to make our schools safer.
Ashley Tarr (Editor) December 18, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Please keep this conversation civil and adhere to the Terms of Use (http://newtown.patch.com/terms). No name calling.
sheri December 18, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Ashley maybe you can review and pull inappropriate comments more fairly.
Rachel December 18, 2012 at 03:50 PM
At JFK you press the buzzer and the doors unlock THEN you go to the window to sign in. Not at all secure. I don't know if they are looking at the person pressing the buzzer through a camera but even if they are, they don't know everyone, I know the afternoon people do not know me, but unlock the door anyway. Useless in my opinion.
sheri December 18, 2012 at 03:50 PM
By the way Ashley this is the Southeast Patch. "Please keep this conversation civil and adhere to the Terms of Use (http://newtown.patch.com/terms). No name calling." (http://newtown.patch.com/terms).
Rachel December 18, 2012 at 03:52 PM
And my son goes to JFK and while the idea of needing an armed guard is upsetting, I much prefer an added sense of security to any discomfort I may feel.
Ashley Tarr (Editor) December 18, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Thanks Sheri. They are the same across all Patch sites. The address for this site is southeast.patch.com/terms.
sheri December 18, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Rachel - I would be more worried about the comments you just made public. Wouldnt you rather your child is protected rather than what these kids had to face? That's common sense.
Ann Fanizzi December 18, 2012 at 05:04 PM
When the program began In NYC,many years ago, School Resource Officers were assigned to High Schools. I worked in an intermediate school, we did not have these officers but we had unarmed security guards stationed usually at the entrance of the school. These security guards were then also assigned to the elementary schools.
Ann Fanizzi December 18, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Seems Sheri needs a guard herself.
sheri December 18, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Ann an unarmed guard is about as useless as your comments here.
Ann Fanizzi December 19, 2012 at 08:45 AM
And what kind of gun should the guards carry? A handgun or are they going to carry an assault rifle similar to the one used by the murderer? We got to have an even playing field, right Sheri. And why stop at the guard, let's arm the teachers and the students. It is the fear talk exhibited by people like Sheri and the NRA that has made the US the leader in deaths by firearms, And if we go down the road of using guns as a security blanket that Sheri and the others want to take us, there will be more unspeakable tragedies and life-time emotional scars.
Ann Fanizzi December 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM
I'm flattered that you know me and my positions. Nikki you don't seem to see the illogic of what you are saying: Folks are killed in accidents. A gun is not an accidental killing machine; its sole purpose is to kill. Get it.
sheri December 19, 2012 at 03:16 PM
What is fear Ann? I have a first grader. And if there were an armed officer (NO ONE MENTIONED A GUARD) in the school, this wouldnt have happened becasue THEY ARE TRAINED to handle this. Your uneducated and misinformed. And if the notion of protecting yourself and your family "scares" you, I truly feel sorry for you. Maybe grow a spine and a thicker skin. By the way - you havent suggested anything. Any ideas? Right. Didnt think so.
Joe Beahm December 19, 2012 at 03:26 PM
While I agree security needs to be tightened up in the schools, that is in no way going to fix the problem. Take a step back and think for a second. If someone was that motivated and filled with that much passion for murder, regardless of the motive, you think a buzzer system or metal detectors is going to stop him? What if the next school shooting is by a student in the school? Have every kid walk through security, in the morning when they walk through the doors? Have bomb squads check all cars parked in the lots? When will it end? Look at the frightening numbers of how many students are victims of acts of violence in public schools every day. What needs to be fixed is not security but it's how children are brought up today. They need to be taught non-violence. Kids just being kids is not an excuse for bullying. Teach your children to stand up for their classmates if they are being bullied and who knows, you may have stopped a suicide or future school shooting...
sheri December 19, 2012 at 04:13 PM
But Joe - you dont just wake up one day and decide to go on a rampage. This is someone who has mental issues. The issue is much bigger.
Joe Beahm December 19, 2012 at 04:33 PM
My point exactly - the issue is much much larger than security in the schools. Look at those effected by bullying and the correlation between those who have developed mental illnesses because of it. Perhaps this wasn't from bullying and he developed his rage from repressed thoughts or feelings he developed somewhere. How about fixing how we treat those with mental handicaps and the care we give them. We don't know what his motive was but what we can do is figure out how to teach children non-violent courses of action. Teach them that there is nothing to be ashamed of to seek help for any illness - mental or physical.
Ann Fanizzi December 19, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Your lashing out is evidence of how scared you are and understandable since you are a mom and the last place you would think your child would be in danger is school. But you are lashing out at a 30-year educator, early childhood administrator and special ed supervisor and intermediate school administrator who worked in the worse times and areas of crime and drugs in the city. So what did we do? What the good schools in Brewster are doing: shoring up their security plan; adding locked down drills to fire drills; locking doors after 9; making sure communication systems throughout the school are working; keeping close communication with police forces; and making every teacher a guard by maintaining alertness as to who is in the school and reporting suspicious behavior. Since it is an elementary school, the presence of guards with guns or teachers with guns would unhinge some students and inject emotional insecurity scarring some children forever. And Sheri, I would make certain that my home is violence-free - remove the video games, television programs and movies that glorify guns and violence. And lastly, sign Mayor Bloomberg's petition to end gun violence, ban forever assault rifles and the ammo that goes with it. It is online. And then pray.,

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