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School Security Focus of New BOE/Township Effort

Superintendent says district is working with township officials to keep kids safe in the classroom.

More than three months after the Newtown shootings, school security remains high on the list of priorities for the Parsippany Board of Education.

At its meeting at Parsippany High School last Tuesday, Superintendent of Schools LeRoy Seitz presented an update on the district's efforts to make sure tragedy does not visit local schools.

Seitz reported that he met with Mayor James Barberio and Parsippany Police Chief Anthony DeZenzo Jan. 29 "to see what could be done in partnership with the town to assess security."

As a result of the meeting, Seitz said PPD Deputy Chief Paul Philipps has been assigned to work with the district to tighten security in the schools.

Some of the ideas discussed, according to Seitz, include working with the school security committee, school officials, representatives from transportation companies and members of town administration and expanding the types of safety drills conducted at schools. So far, the superintendent said security topics have been reviewed; he said those reviews will continue.

Seitz said some facility upgrades are under way to address strengthening security, with $45,000-$50,000 being allocated for the task.

"We're looking at doors and locks to make access more difficult for those who should not be [in school buildings," he said. "We're looking to upgrade [public address] systems to make sure there are not dead spots."

He added that the district is looking to federal officials to get "clear direction," and perhaps funding.

Board member Anthony DeIntinis said he believes he and his colleagues should be permitted to attend future committee meetings. 

Member Michael Strumolo agreed, adding that DeIntinis' past experience as a school resource officer makes him uniquely qualified to participate.

"He bring a wealth of knowledge and should be at the meetings," Strumolo said.

"I'm very ignorant about safety in schools," said member Gary Martin, a former Montville police captain. "I am extremely ignorant of new policies."

He agreed that DeIntinis should be part of the school security committee.

"He overwhelmed me with his knowledge on that topic," Martin said. "He brings something to the board on that level. If he can help, it's about helping the children."

"I'm not sure the board has the authority to direct the  township to add a board member," Seitz said, adding that he will take up the matter with the mayor and the police chief. "I have no problem with accepting Mr. DeIntinis' help."

Member Frank Calabria suggested having board leadership meet with the mayor to discuss the concept and explain why a board member should be on the committee.

"We have competent individuals and we want as many competent people there to deal with this important problem," he said.

Mike February 18, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Lock the doors...don't let anyone in the building unless they have an appointment...if a student forgets something there should be a container outside that the parent will drop it in and then at some point an assigned person will check that container. The schools open at 6:00am and if someone wants to get in they will. There is no sure fire way of protecting a building. Students have to learn to be responsible and bring their lunch in and all homework..Parents should stop enabling their kids.
Mike February 18, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Also if a parent has a meeting they will be met at the door and escorted to the main office
Sabot February 19, 2013 at 12:06 AM
I realize arming teachers with guns is a non-starter (for most), but what about mace or even tasers? If all other precautions fail, which the invariably do in most cases, at least the teachers would have some last line of defense.
steve revette February 19, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Arming teachers terrible idea. I'd rather pay the extra money for a school resource officer then arming teachers. Teachers need to keep their mind solely on teaching. With weapons in a classroom to many accidents could happen. I know everybody wants to be safer then sorry but the odds of a school shooting happening is still rare. i Just don't think giving teachers weapons, especially Parsippany teachers, is the answer. Accidents do happen.

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