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Tell Us: School Security

Does Port Washington need more high tech security? More paid guards?

In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, many Port Washington parents have expressed concerns about school security.

The Port Washington School District is collaborating with Port Washington and Sands Point police, which this week increased its presence around the schools. It is also encouraging parents to attend the Jan. 8 school board meeting to share concerns.

Which leads to the questions: how much more would you like to see in terms of security? More high tech security? More paid guards?

jonathan winant December 18, 2012 at 11:11 AM
Unfortunately we really never know what is considered not enough security. Still school districts, operators of malls and other places where people gather need to be more vigilant. In today's world you never can let your guard down. Even tight security measures did not keep 20 children from being killed.
jonathan winant December 18, 2012 at 11:17 AM
As reported the killer used his mothers rifle to kill her and some of the students. Something was wrong with the parenting after it was said that her son had some sort of issues and behavior problems. The unanswered question is if this was so why take your son to the rifle range and have various guns and rifles within his reach? Was this too much trust?
Archie Bunker December 18, 2012 at 11:28 AM
How about metal detectors and police officer stationed at each school full time? I can see this being another excuse to greatly increase the school budget
Blue Heron December 18, 2012 at 11:46 AM
I teach at a neighboring school district. We're taking similar measures. Locking doors, security guards in the middle and high school etc. We're meeting and discussing how we can be more efficient in terms of safety and protecting our children. These are all good things to do on an ongoing basis. That it is legal to own a gun that is only useful to militia, a gun that fires 50 rounds a minute is what this country needs to be addressing. A lock on a door is cosmetic if someone attacks a school. Lanza broke through the security and attacked Sandy Hook Elementary School. Nobody is willing to remove all guns from civilian hands. People feel that "the right to bear arms", to own firearms, is their right. As long as this proliferates and as long as there are no national regulations, people will travel to buy guns, own guns and use them. Of course, even with stronger laws, there will always be those who break the law. In some states, it is illegal to choose who you love, but having an arsenal of guns that can annihilate innocents, no problem. Fifty rounds a minute. Fifty rounds a minute. Fifty rounds a minute.
miss lynda December 18, 2012 at 12:36 PM
We have limited to no cameras for our schools, my husband works for a security surveillance company and has been installing cameras and access control entrances for a lot of the schools all over long island, why not Port? After school programs also need to be addressed picking up my son from Daly around 5 the gym doors are open and anyone can just walk in. That is a problem in my eyes, and while they had an older woman sitting near the entrance I believe more must be done. I used to complain about how strict port is in not allowing parents to go into schools, not anymore. They have been very effective with keeping any adult who is not expected out of the school during the day.Lets make it tougher for after school and have cameras along with some sort of panic button in in each room. Odds of mass shootings are low but why even take the chance. We need to beef up security in order to keep our schools safe. We need to be proactive in this.....our children are so precious to us, we need to protect them.
Bryan Jay December 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM
I am a gun owner, and fully believe in our right to bear arms. However, I also fully support any legislation that can be introduced to outlaw the assault weapons. Hunters have no reason or need to have a weapon that fires fifty rounds per minute. We have to realize that these guns are designed to kill humans and not deer, or any other hunted species. I also believe that if some crazy decides to do something like this, there is no easy answer as to what we can do to help prevent it. I wish I did. Perhaps more support for the people that demonstrate signs of mental illness along with the propensity for violence?
jonathan winant December 18, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Youhave missed a very important aspect of all, of the school shootings or masacres which was covered on the news this morning. Besides guns laws there needs to be more focuse on the shooter. Tell tale signs that something might not be right need to be looked into and not ignored. Ask yourself why would a mother have so many weapons in their home? Why were the guns and rifles readily accessable to the children? More important is why did a mother who previously warned the baby sitter about her sons problems take the same son to target practice? In schools there needs to be a more concerned effort to help the bullied child or the one who comes across as an outcast. These seem to be common threads amongst many of those who commit such acts. You can not sit back and say we thought something might have been wrong we need to say something seems wrong lets look into it. I do strongly feel that gun laws need to be re-examined and changed. Why do they call them ASSAULY WEAPONS?
bob young December 18, 2012 at 02:32 PM
The ridiculous open campus policy at Schrieber high needs to be ended immediately. There is no need to allow the kids to wander on and off freely
Anon December 18, 2012 at 02:54 PM
I'm not a student - but Mr. Young, i'm not sure what students being able to leave campus when they don't have any class there has to do with violence. The problem is not students coming back and forth, it's students or others individuals coming with assault rifles. Essentially, what's the difference between a student coming in the morning with a gun versus a student coming back to school after lunch with a gun? The answer is, there is none. High School students are young adults, who are free and capable of acting responsibly. You can't just say, "that's it, the school is on lockdown forever - nobody in and nobody out until the end of the day" - just because one crazy out there shot up a school he didn't even go to. The real issue is the accessibility of firearms -- At the end of the day, the crazy-shooter personality might exist, but if he can't get hold of a gun, then we're better off... id rather take my chances against a man with a knife. I agree police should have more of a presence, but I think they already have a cop at the school. Metal detectors, for a town and school like port washington, is too much.
jonathan winant December 18, 2012 at 03:16 PM
PW; The real issue is that we (everyone concerned) are missing a critical pice of the puzzle. Yes new gun legislation is needed but why on earth are we forgeting the individual who commits the crime. Everyone who could have done something needs to ask the big question. Was the shooter showing any signs that something was considerbaly wrong? The media disclosed the answer and he was said to be a problem child. His mom informed the babby sitter ten years earlier that her son needs to be carefully watched. I think te Mother needed physcological help. Your son has some sort of problems with behavior and you take him to the rifle range and then leave weapons readily available for him. Keep in mind the gun used to commit most of the murders was his mothers rifle. Maybe nuttiness ran in the family? Many of those commit similar crimes have some sort of mental issues. This was brought up by an expert on the topic durring a morning news interview.
jonathan winant December 18, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Back in the seventies we were escorted out of the school (on numerous occassions) when the administration received bomb threats. Police and dogs were brought in and we sat on the football field for sometimes over an hour. Not once was a bomb found. Jericho High School had a rifle team and a rifle range in the building. My mother refused to allow me to join because I might have to transport the rifle. I dn't know what the answer is but i do know we need to be far more vigilant and stop continuously thinking our rights are being taken away. Food for thought- does your son or daughter have the right to go to school and then return home in the same condition that they were earlier that day?
sadeto December 18, 2012 at 03:30 PM
That rifle is capable of a lot more than fifty rounds per minute on semi- automatic. More like 200. Never mind the fact that you can find videos on YouTube showing how to modify it to fully automatic, which many people do, bringing the rate of fire up to several hundred per minute. We just have to trust our good neighbors who own these to use their best judgement as to when it is appropriate to use them. And we'll just have to cross our fingers and hope that they or their loved ones with access to these weapons don't have a breakdown or lapse in judgment.
portsince1966 December 18, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I went to Port schools from 1966-74. open campus is a good thing. freedom is a good thing. we are not sending our children to jail. we don't need more security nor cameras and certainly we want to LOWER THE TAXES and not raise them. get rid of ALL guns. if you want to hunt, then get a bow and arrow. if you are scared, then keep a baseball bat or knife near your bed. There will always be crimes of passion. guns are offensive weapons and should be turned in. the schools should let the kids organize mass protests and marches with Port Washinton Residents against the NRA and gun lobby and declare a WAR on GUNS! just as we protested the Vietnam war in the '70's!
fred December 18, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Johnathan it would be great to identify the "mentally challenged" before they commit a crime. however I think that is very unrealistic, How many "mentally challenged" people are out there that never commit a crime, warning signs and all? We need to help people but we also have to limit access to guns
Blue Heron December 18, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Bravo!
icescreammama December 18, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I want the back door locked at SOUSA, and an armed guard at the front entrance. Mrs. Reese is tough, but I'd feel a lot safer with some real security. I don't care if it's our local police, hired security or maybe even parental volunteers. It will never be secure enough, but we can certainly do better!
Blue Heron December 18, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Respectfully, Mr. Winant, please read today's NY TImes, article titled "A Misguided Focus on Mental Illness". Here is a short quote: "But there is overwhelming epidemiological evidence that the vast majority of people with psychiatric disorders do not commit violent acts. Only about 4 percent of violence in the United States can be attributed to people with mental illness." Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of Autism, ALSO NOT LINKED to violent crimes. He was a loner, which fits the prototype, but being a loner doesn't constitute having "mental issues". What CAN be linked to this is a mother who collected and loved of guns and taught her son to do the same. He grew up in this environment, taken to shooting ranges and associating with people who also spend time with their guns. "Nuttiness" in the family is all over the map. As forensic experts piece this disjunct and evidence-less puzzle together, hopefully we'll get a clearer picture. But all this speculation about 'why' he did it? With all due respect, his was not a normal response - to anything. But look at the facts. Treating mental illness in this messy society is our obligation, yes. A ban on assault weapons is imminent. It's politically correct. I'm guessing even the NRA will support it. The facts are that the majority of murders are committed not with assult weapons, but with handguns. How do we reckon with this "real issue"? Is it not a critical piece of the puzzle?
Blue Heron December 18, 2012 at 10:04 PM
I don't mean to 'filibuster' here. But I just had to include this conclusion of the Times' article (A Misguided Focus on Mental Illness) This nails it: "Adam Lanza was prohibited from purchasing a gun, because he was too young. Yet he managed to get his hands on guns — his mother’s — anyway. If we really want to stop young men like him from becoming mass murderers, and prevent the small amount of violence attributable to mental illness, we should invest our resources in better screening for, and treatment of, psychiatric illness in young people. All the focus on the small number of people with mental illness who are violent serves to make us feel safer by displacing and limiting the threat of violence to a small, well-defined group. But the sad and frightening truth is that the vast majority of homicides are carried out by outwardly normal people in the grip of all too ordinary human aggression to whom we provide nearly unfettered access to deadly force."
bthebest December 18, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Not to diminish the importance of strict gun laws but we (the parents, teachers, administrators, neighbors and students) need to address what drove such a young man to committ such a horrible crime. All too many times the concerns regarding a bullied child, or an obsessive child or a child that is an outcast are over looked. We need to stop taking a laid back approach and actually address these issues and take them seriously. If this kid didn't take his mother's guns he would have found another weapon because the bottom line is that he had some serious mental issues and that is where the focus of all schools should be right now.
Blue Heron December 18, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Port Resident, Are you aware of DASA? SAVE? It's required training, by law. And we get it. Why do you assume that the schools and educators don't do their jobs?Are educators supposed to cure the ills of society? Unless a parent or caregiver consents to 'identify' a child as being in need of ANY kind of help, we are unable to offer that child special services. Rather than offer their children help, their fears and assumption that the child will be labeled or stigmatized rather than helped, stops them. I write notes, emails, make calls home, talk to children, their teachers and administrators. From a teacher's perspective, when a parent doesn't respond, cooperate, support or reinforce, we are powerless. Do you think Lanza's mother would have responded to caring teachers? You know what the noble and loving teachers at Sandy Hook did for their children and understand that we're all special people. None of us would do anything different than they did. Spend some time with a teacher at school. Take off a day or two. If you'd like to come trail me, please do. Then tell me it's our fault.

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