School Security

If You See Something, Say Something!
Rich Young, President, Robbinsville Board of Education
February 27, 2018

As we witnessed the awful images and heard the terrifying stories coming out of Florida two weeks ago tomorrow, our hearts broke for the families whose lives were forever changed.  Schools should be sanctuaries, truly safe havens.  That trust was broken in Parkland Florida and really in too many places nationally the past few years.   Adding to the Florida tragedy were reports that the incident may have preventable. There were clear warnings signs that there were problems and tips may not have been followed up on properly. If there is one message that I hope that all of us take away is that strong security requires a collective effort from our entire community.

Over the past few years, our administrative team, our Board and others involved in our schools have had many conversations with residents and parents, Mayor David Fried and Police Chief Chris Nitti and his team.   Following the tragedy in Florida, conversations have taken an added degree of urgency.

Due to security concerns, we can’t publicly talk about every measure that’s been deployed, but I can tell you some additional security measures have already been implemented and others will be announced in the coming days.  While there are no fail-safe solutions which can permanently eliminate the threat of an active shooter incident, I can tell you that our Board, our school leaders and staff, our Mayor and our police department are all 100 percent committed to doing what needs to be done in order to keep our children and staff safe. 

While we do what needs to be done from our end, we also ask our students and parents, and everyone involved to play a role here as well.  You’ve seen the statement, if you’ve seen something, say something.   That saying is applicable in school settings as well.  If you become aware of someone who appears to pose a threat to our students, staff or facilities, please call the authorities and/or our school leaders immediately.  One call can truly make a difference.  While it’s sometimes difficult to tell definitively when someone crosses the line, most of us know when one’s behavior or actions cross the line of acceptability.  Too often when we are witness to unusual behavior, we tend to shy away from reporting it for fear that we are wrong or our concerns are overblown.  I can assure you that our schools and authorities do not take these calls and potential threats for granted.   We cannot desire the highest level of security possible unless we all become part of the solution.  Keep in mind, observations, complaints and comments can always be made anonymously.

While we continue to work with the Mayor, our police department and others on ways to do more, I’m asking that we all embrace a shared sense of responsibility.  If you’re aware of what appears to be an abnormal situation, report the matter to our leadership team and/or the police. Please tell someone. We cannot take anything for granted.  Schools should be sanctuaries, places where children and staff are safe.  Collectively, we can play a big role in helping to ensure that happens.

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