There are several ways parents can learn if these precautions are being taken at their children’s schools. They can get involved with the PTA or ask to attend their district’s quarterly safety committee meetings. Parents can “question school leaders, ask how they are maintaining a safe and secure learning environment,” advises Matthew A. Miraglia, president of CLPS Consultancy Group, a Hartsdale-based school safety and security firm that counts several Westchester schools among its clients. “Ask if the building and campus have ever been inspected by security experts and if a school safety assessment has ever been done.”
In addition to updating security infrastructure, Miraglia recommends that schools keep emergency supplies on hand, including “bottled water in case students are stuck in schools, even food, in case they have to stay overnight. There should be go-bags containing a roster of students, emergency vests, flashlights, and communications devices.” In addition, he says, “Since more than 90 percent of emergency response requires sending and receiving communications, schools need cellphones, walkie-talkies, landlines, intercoms, backup systems—a redundancy of communications gear.”
Miraglia says local schools are making excellent progress in improving security, right down to having those go-bags prepared. There are a couple of stumbling blocks, however, one of them being budget constraints. It’s also hard for teachers and students to break old habits.
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