Greenacres parents joined Principal Gerry Young on Wednesday night February 6 for a discussion of security improvements they'd like to see at Greenacres Elementary School. Certain decisions regarding security are already being figured into the budget plans of the school administration, including a move of the main office to the Sage Terrace entrance of the building and the hiring of a professional greeter to stand at the front entrance of the school. The office, which is currently in an interior location, is being moved to allow administrators to monitor traffic at the school and check-in guests at the office. Principal Young asked the parents in attendance to think about how they would like to see a day at school go from the moment students are dropped off until the last student is picked up after school.
Parents raised issues of doors being unlocked too early in the morning and being left open for too long after the second bell has rung. One parent spoke of wanting teachers, parents, and caregivers to have school-issued ID cards that identified them as part of the school community, while requiring all visitors to receive a badge to show that they've been given permission to enter the building. Another parent suggested the creation of a central monitoring station where camera feeds from all schools could be under constant watch, and any suspicious activity reacted to immediately.
All in attendance seemed to agree that they didn't want to alter Greenacres' unique position as a community school where there is no busing and where many parents enter the building to drop off students in the morning. A number of those in attendance said that they believed the presence of so many familiar faces added to the security of Greenacres, as unfamiliar individuals stand out and are asked to identify themselves. One thing that most parents agreed on was that any security measure taken would act as a deterrent for someone looking for an "easy target," but would not stop an event such as the one that happened in Newtown, CT.
Tracy Jaffe is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Business. A past president of Heathcote's PTA and Scarsdale PT Council, Tracy has 3 children in the Scarsdale school system, and currently sits on the boards of Scarsdale/Edgemont Family Counseling Services and the League of Women Voters.