By: Joe D’Amore
I want to remind everyone that this week the Superintendent will meet with the Chief of Police in an important meeting to review school security measures. Coming off the incredibly volatile emotions from the tragedy in Connecticut – I – like you – whipsawed with ideas in mind about what to do and what not to do.
Some ideas, extremist by any measure, were fueled by what every single one of us has thought about at least once since December 14th. How would we feel if one of those 20 angels were one of our own?
Here’s where I stand: I will propose the formation of a REGIONAL SCHOOL SAFETY SECURITY COMMITTEE so that the law enforcement community, in conjunction with the school committee, community leaders, the superintendent and administrators will consistently focus on, build, implement and evaluate comprehensive measures to protect our children our schools.
This will include 1) identification of threats 2) Physical changes and modifications to buildings to improve physical security and deterrent measures 3) Formation and implementation of clearly defined emergency protocols including: regularly-scheduled “lock-down” drills and separately and distinct from that – fire /evacuation drills.
In the course of the next few weeks as these discussions produce tangible results I will ask for a public hearing to review suggestions made by the authorities. At this meeting I will ask for the parents and supporters of our schools to deliver statements and suggestions so that the policies we review and improve -and if we have to those we create from scratch – will reflect enhanced measures and protocols formed in a collaborative process.
The central theme of my proposal and suggested actions is to enable our law enforcement community, especially the Police Chiefs and public safety experts, to play a very prominent role in public policy formulation pertaining to school security.
This is essential and can materialize because of two reasons:
1. What’s happened in Connecticut
2. The priorities of our new Superintendent are better aligned with this vision
When I bring my service on the school committee to a close after my second term in May and move on to other posts, if the public will grant me that privilege, I will further the viability, integrity and relevance of a REGIONAL SCHOOL SAFETY-SECURITY COMMITTEE. My goal is to help develop it as an advisory panel for school officials modeled after the very successful Regional Finance Advisory Committee which is made up of community leaders, officials, school administrators and finance directors from West Newbury, Merrimac and Groveland.
I wish everyone a blessed, prosperous, happy and safe New Year.
And I remain eternally grateful for your support in the years I’ve served on the School Committee.
Member- Pentucket Regional School Committee