Dear Parents and Community Members,
I hope you have enjoyed the holiday season, and that the time away from school has provided the opportunity for making wonderful family memories. Happy New Year 2013!
Over the last two weeks, District personnel, community officials and representatives of State and Federal agencies have been meeting to review all plans and practices associated with emergency response. The Port Jefferson School District facilities have also been reviewed to identify areas that could be targeted for security enhancement.
These enhancements may include: additional cameras, “buzzer” doors, fencing, signage, and potentially – additional security staffing. Some modifications have already been completed. Other actions require approval from the Board of Education at a public meeting. Our next scheduled meeting of the Board will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elementary large group room. An update on security will be presented to the Board on that night.
One of the concrete goals we are moving towards achieving is having one entry/exit point in each of our school buildings. To that end, all visitors will need to report to the designated “main entrance” at each of our facilities:
Elementary School: Front door outside main office (you will need to be “buzzed” in).
Middle School/High School: Main Entrance outside gym lobby (you will continue to report directly to the security desk once inside). A “buzzer” for this area is forthcoming. The MS/HS attendance office is currently being relocated to this area of the building.
District Office: Main Entrance (faces Elementary School): You will need to call the extension (an intercom will be placed in the vestibule) of the person you have an appointment to see, and be “buzzed” in.
Following the recommendation of our safety response committee, all visitors to school buildings will need to:
Produce and surrender a government issued photo identification (driver’s license, military I.D., passport, etc.) Your identification will be held at the security desk in each building and returned to you upon departure. This will enable us to have an accurate account of who is in our building (and the reason for the visit) at all times. This practice will go into effect beginning Monday, January 7.
The District Administration and the Board of Education are anxious to hear your input regarding security of our schools. To that end, a community forum on safety has been planned for Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. in the High School Auditorium.
I will present some of the findings/recommendations of the safety committee (for obvious reasons, many of our practices will remain confidential and known only to school personnel and law enforcement). Parents and members of the school community will be given ample opportunity to make suggestions and ask questions of your own. I hope to see you there.
The tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut caused all school officials in the country to examine safety protocol. While I am very confident that our schools are safe and our faculty is prepared to respond to emergencies, I also believe there are modifications to be made that will raise the comfort level of all concerned.
I hope that 2013 brings you and your family many joyous occasions and also a sense of peace and normalcy following a very difficult end to 2012.
Dr. Ken Bossert
Superintendent of Schools