Safety Task Force: Sub-Committee on Student Safety Surveys Returned

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Metuchen matters 009.JPGColumbine and 9/11:  Two events that changed the world.  In response, businesses, families, communities, and schools began to realize the importance of emergency management and readiness plans.  The Metuchen Board of Education is no exception.  Administrators have attended dozens of workshops for information on responding to safety concerns. The district has school safety plans and a formal Board of Education approved Memorandum of Understanding between the police department and school administration.  Last May, Board president Terry Kohl announced the formation of a Safe Schools Task Force.  Bob Gugliara, "Mr. G.," principal of Campbell School, chairs the Sub-Committee on Student Safety (S-CSS). 

Last month, the S-CSS issued a survey to all parents of school-aged children asking for feedback on the safety procedures they wanted more information on, as well as any safety-related concerns they might have. According to Mr. G. "There is a routine initiative in our district to provide the community with an understanding of the health and safety concerns that are being addressed in our schools.  The S-CSS met over the summer and determined it was important to first learn what was important to parents, and to get a better understanding of parental concerns and questions."  The end result will be the distribution of information on safety protocol that covers everything parents want to know.

"Each time there is a safety-related event that occurs anywhere in the country, protocol is either modified or confirmed." explained Mr. G.  For example, evacuation sites were changed when the state issued a directive advising on location choices.  And, when a local district had an emergency closure due to a water main break, their busing evacuation routine was found deficient and amended.

 

The police department has been a constant partner in district safety plans, providing safety assessments and aiding in plan development and execution.   A goal of the S-CSS is to bring the community into the loop through a plan of accurate and efficient communication.   "Our goal is not to develop procedure but we will certainly make any suggestions we believe are necessary" said Mr. G. 

 

The committee wants to ensure students are safe but is also committed to maintaining an environment that is happy.  A school in Long Island recently found it necessary to ban back-packs and students in other districts are subject to metal detection upon entering their buildings. 

 

There are four arms to the School Safety Task Force:  Superintendent Terri Sinatra and Board of Education president Terry Kohl head the Steering Committee; the Mental Health Committee is co-chaired by Edgar principal Kathy Glutz and Rose deVries; and the Facility Safety Committee is co-chaired by MHS principal John Novak and BOE member Ben Small.  Each committee is also staffed by parent volunteers.  

 

Mr. G. and the S-CSS have just begun the process of reading the parent survey forms, which were due back to school by November 26th.   Information will be sorted, tallied, and then a plan for communicating information will be developed.  They are hoping to be prepared with documentation and a presentation by Spring.   

 

Early indicators are that about 25% of school families responded to the survey, with the majority of respondents being parents of younger children.  According to Mr. G., "The response to the survey has been a confirmation that school safety is a constant concern and that parents seem to feel confident their kids are safe."

10 Comments

Really?

I'll have to head over to Edgar and see if I can score a bag, running low and my cop buddy needs to hit up the evidence cabinet again

Either you're being sarcastic, or you mean Edgar. There have been drugs at the middle school for decades.

In this country, people have a constitutional right to anonymous criticism of government.

Armed cops in all schools now. Specially Campbell, those kids are in DANGER! Heard there is lots of drugs there too...

I wonder what this discussion and others would be like if people posted comments under their real names. Hmmmm.

There is a difference between the man, the teacher caring and the Mayor being responsible for developing emergency procedures. The first comment was that the Mayor(s) did not care about school safety. A hostile thing to say.

Forgive me, but I find it hard to believe that our Mayor (who is a teacher) isn't interested in school safety.

Get real, he works there, think he wants some kid coming into school with a gun and shooting teachers?

School safety is not on the Mayor's agenda. It's a district responsibility and it seems to me they are on top of things. What role have you assumed to try to make things "better?"

It does not matter, certain council people and a certain Mayor(s) have no interest in school safety or security. For that matter they do not have much use for the local police. You can have all the meetings,sub - meetings, studies, you name it. Nothing happens in Metuchen, sit on your hands, put your head in the sand, the Metuchen way.

This is great news - I am currently reading "Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)" by Gavin De Becker and he talks extensively about school safety. I recommend it to anyone on the committee or parents. I'd also like to know if there are plans in place about how to shelter students with special needs during an emergency (i.e. diabetics, students at risk for anaphylaxis, etc).

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Recent Comments

  • Anonymous: Really? I'll have to head over to Edgar and see read more
  • Anonymous: Either you're being sarcastic, or you mean Edgar. There have read more
  • Anonymous: In this country, people have a constitutional right to anonymous read more
  • Anonymous: Armed cops in all schools now. Specially Campbell, those kids read more
  • Allison Inserro: I wonder what this discussion and others would be like read more
  • Anonymous: There is a difference between the man, the teacher caring read more
  • Anonymous: Forgive me, but I find it hard to believe that read more
  • Anonymous: School safety is not on the Mayor's agenda. It's a read more
  • Anonymous: It does not matter, certain council people and a certain read more
  • Allison inserro: This is great news - I am currently reading "Protecting read more

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