Superintendent's 'Mission Moment' Focuses on Student Safety at Berkeley Heights BOE Meeting

Superintendent of Schools Judith A. Rattner focused her ‘Mission Moment’ on student safety in the wake of the mass murder at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Credits: Barbara Rybolt


BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The Thursday, Feb. 22, Board of Education meeting was the first since the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Superintendent of Schools Judith A. Ratner focused her remarks on school safety that evening.

She has since posted her “Mission Moment” remarks on the school district website here and TAPinto is republishing them below.

In the wake of the tragedy in Florida I want to take a moment to reiterate that keeping our students safe continues to be our top priority. I want you to know that we are committed daily to the safety of our students and staff. Some of the things we’ve done recently include adding secure vestibules in each of our buildings, installing a sophisticated camera system in all of our schools and a monitored card reader entrance system in all of our buildings. The school district continues to maintain a comprehensive safety plan. Threat assessment is also a huge part of school safety. To that end we have a strong partnership with law enforcement. There is a police presence in our schools on a regular basis. We share information, collaborate, assess and eliminate potential threats as they are identified.

Sign Up for E-News

There is nothing more tragic than the loss of innocent children’s lives to acts of violence. Violent acts such as these take an emotional toll on each of us. From the moment a child boards the school bus, or a student passes through the doors of one of our schools, no parent should ever have to worry if their child will be safe. No teacher should ever have to fear for the safety of their students or themselves. We continue to work with law enforcement officials in Berkeley Heights and Mountainside as we review student and school safety protocols and procedures, to identify any areas we may need to change or areas we might be able to enhance in order to keep our children and school community – even safer. Our district crisis response team meets regularly to examine the school crisis response plans and ensure that they are revised and aligned with current guidance and best practices. Specifically, these protocols pertain to preparedness and response. School staff and students alike are trained. This training and awareness is a continuous process and schools conduct drills on a regular basis.

This terrible event serves as another reminder for all of us to remain vigilant. If anyone sees or hears something, please say something. If you have information regarding a specific school threat or are concerned about a student who may be in crisis, please contact authorities immediately. As always, report any suspicious people, vehicles, or circumstances to 9-1-1 right away. On the other hand, please do not share rumors on social media, and please discourage your children from doing so. Continue to monitor what your children are putting on social media and have conversations with them about current events. Students who demonstrate recklessness on social media may be faced with significant consequences if their posts are considered to be a threat. Many potentially dangerous situations across our nation have been avoided because a parent, student, or teacher alerted the proper authorities. But we need your support. If you see something in the community that is of concern, contact the local police department. If you think one of our students needs assistance, contact a building or district administrator immediately. Additionally, we have posted resources on our website to help parents navigate the challenging conversations with their children regarding violence and loss.  

Together we can continue to make our schools safer and to provide a bright future for every student in our community. Student safety is our top priority. We must stand together and be watchful – the safety of our children needs to be everyone’s priority!

As our next BOE meeting on March 8, we will provide a School Safety and Security Presentation in concert with the Berkeley Heights Police Department.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Free Living History Event Showcases World War I Centennial

April 19, 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents and visitors to experience battlefield life as a World War I American Salvation Army volunteer, featuring Ms. Laurie MacDonald-Gaulke, actress and storyteller, in a special free presentation of “Doughnuts for Doughboys: A Salvation Army Lassie in France.”

Doughnuts for Doughboys takes place on Tuesday, April 25 at ...

Softball: Justina Benvenuto Named Union Catholic's Girls Conference Athlete of Week

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- After bursting on the scene with a fabulous freshman softball season at Union Catholic last year, there was a lot of hype surrounding Justina Benvenuto as she entered her sophomore season.

Benvenuto has more than lived up to all the lofty expectations, both on the mound and at the plate as she has sparked the Vikings to a 6-1 record this spring.

Benvenuto has been ...

Lunch & Learn: 'Israel at 70: Its Meaning and Value in Jewish Identity' with Professor Kenneth W. Stein Apr. 22

SUMMIT, NJ - For four decades, Kenneth W. Stein has taught Middle Eastern History and Political Science at Emory University. His scholarship focuses on the politics of the modern Arab world, American foreign policy toward the Middle East, modern Israel, and the Arab-Israeli negotiating process. Stein earned awards at Emory for excellence in teaching and life-long mentorship of ...

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

April 16, 2018

Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, ...

New Providence Borough Council to Cultivate Relationships with County Officials

April 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Councilman Robert Robinson touted the importance of personal relationships with Union County representatives at the Monday, April 9 council meeting.

Union County Freeholders Angel Estrada and Bette Jane Kowalski attended the Street Smart campaign kick-off event prior to the meeting providing the council members with the opportunity to chat face-to-face with the two ...

Chatham Township Committee Unanimously Adopts Ordinance to Ban Marijuana Retail Sales; Cannabis Advocates Disagree

April 13, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township Mayor Curt Ritter began the new year by pledging to oppose Gov. Phil Murphy's plan to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and Thursday night he followed through by voting to adopt an ordinance that prohibits "marijuana cultivation, production testing, manufacturing facilities and retail stores' in the township.

The Chatham Township Committee ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, April 19, 10:00 AM

American Legion Post 433, New Providence

Summit College Club Book Donations

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Thu, April 19, 10:00 AM

American Legion Post 433, New Providence

Summit College Club Book Donations

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Thu, April 19, 10:00 AM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Thursday Morning Book Group @NPML

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, April 19, 7:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Think globally, act locally: What you can do to ...

Education Green

Thu, April 19, 7:00 PM

Museum of Early Trades and Crafts, Madison

METC hosting Travelers and Taverns: An Evening ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Food & Drink

Thu, April 19, 7:00 PM

summit free public library, summit

Celebrate Earth Day at Summit Public Library

Education Green Other

Getting Real About Retirement – Will You Have Enough Money to Remain Comfortable?

Let’s get real about retirement. Will you have enough to remain comfortable in retirement for 30 years or more?  Studies show this is a recurring fear many Americans have - and for good reason. Many Americans are completely unprepared to fund a comfortable retirement, and remain naive about the actual costs involved.  As a Fee-Only financial advisor, my number one priority is ...