BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – From putting a panic button at every major entrance to having an increased police presence, Bronxville officials are discussing ways to increase school safety .
"School security, and the safety of all our students is paramount," he said. "We're currently examining the school's security in the effort to improve it wherever possible. I ask that everyone respect the school's guidelines for safety protocol, including picking students up. Our school is the foundation of the community, and we have to preserve it."
Some of the other ideas to increase school security included increasing police presence on campus, establishing direct emergency communication with the police station, buzz-in systems, further use of swipe-card access, more after-hours security and setting up police access to school security cameras in the event of an emergency.
Those ideas came out of the school's most recent Safety Committee meeting. The committee, which meets every month, is made up of representatives from the Board of Education, Bronxville Police Department , Eastchester Fire Department , school staff and parents.
Some of these ideas are relatively easy and inexpensive to implement, while others will require additional discussion, said Assistant Superintendent John Kehoe.
"The district has a comprehensive safety plan that has been in effect for years now," Kehoe said. "We have an elaborate four-part safety plan, which is detailed and very important in the event of an emergency. We’re sharing some of these safety ideas because the parents have the right to know, but some of our more detailed preparations are highly protected and secretive.”
The Bronxville School has more than 70 locking doors, 58 security cameras, attendants stationed at all main entrances, an ID scanning machine at its Pondfield Road entrance and a public address system for emergencies.
Regardless of how many additional safety measures the school implements, it's almost impossible to protect against an irrational person, Kehoe said.
“We are vulnerable just as every other school across the country is,” he said. “I've recently spoken with different school administrators to put this situation in a larger context. Sandy Hook didn't do anything wrong. It had locked doors. And Columbine didn't do anything wrong, either. It had an armed officer. Even if we forbid students from going out to lunch, it will not eliminate the threat of an attack."
The school's Safety Committee will next meet in early February, and it will continue to brainstorm ways to tighten security.
"Anyone going to a movie, the mall, school or riding the subway probably shares a sense of vulnerability," Kehoe said. “At the end of the day, we will do our best to regain a sense of security. We can do these things to make the situation better, but sadly, these are the times that we live in.”