SSCS will try security buzzers


By Patsy Nicosia

In the wake of the deadly Newtown, Connecticut shootings, Sharon Springs Central School will be tightening up its existing security measures.
"If there are things we can do that save us even five seconds, that may be five more kids we can save," teacher Sally Lauzon said, speaking at Monday's school board meeting.
"It's worth it."
Superintendent Pat Green said he spent Monday meeting with State Police Trooper Tim Preston; he also had calls from parents.
"One of them asked, 'If the same thing happened here, would you be able to protect the kids?' I had to say no. It's a sobering thought."
Any help from State Police or other law enforcement would likely be hours away, he added.
School board member Paul Larkin said he had a call from a Head Start parent concerned that once visitors sign in at the front desk, they can go anywhere in the school.
In the past, SSCS had a single person manning the front desk.
Due to budget cuts, however, that job is now shared by a number of people, most of them school aides.
Trooper Chip Johnstone also served as a school resource officer at SSCS for several years under a state grant.
State budget cutbacks, however, eliminated that program.
SSCS has a security buzzer system in place that it's never used; board President Jim MacFadden pointed out that so did Newtown, "but he [shooter Adam Lanza] blasted right through."
SSCS opens its doors to students at 7:30am as a "favor to the community," Mr. Green said.
"Changing that would change the fabric of what we like to think we are," he said.
"But to look in the mirror and ask are we doing everything possible? The answer is no."
Visitors to the school must sign in and get a visitor's pass, but the security buzzer system has never been used.
The school board decided to try it for the next month and then re-evaluate it.
Visitors will be asked to use the buzzer to the right of the doors on the circle after 8am and to identify themselves and where they're going.
Visitors should also be prepared to produce a driver's license or other ID if asked.
The board also discussed the need to do a better job of limiting access to other parts of the school during athletic events or other after-school activities.
Ms. Lauzon said security was a "hot topic" in the faculty room and at a union meeting Monday.
"We asked ourselves if we've done everything we could," she said, "and what else we could do. More drills? More training? Five seconds could make all the difference."