EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - In the midst of a media firestorm today, Dr. Victor Valeski, East Brunswick Superintendent of Schools, fielded questions from local and national journalists regarding the placement of armed police officers inside each of the district's K-12 buildings. The move seemed to many as a "knee-jerk" reaction to the fear generated by the massacre of fourteen students and three teachers at the high school in Parkland Florida on Valentine's Day. In fact, the implementation was in the planning stages for the past two years.
"The catalyst for beginning the program at this particular time was certainly last week's event, but the Board of Education and the East Brunswick Police Department have been discussing it and planning it for the past two and a half years, " said Valeski in an interview today.
"Our ability to mobilize resources so quickly speaks to the amount of planning that was already in place," he continued. Police presence was evident at all buildings today, as were several news vans and reporters from network broadcast outlets. The new program adds to the extensive security already in place at the schools that includes security officers who are former police officers, cameras and technology, photo identification of all students and staff, and outside locks on all doors requiring the identification of all visitors.
Valeski has been taking a hard hit on social media, especially by those who have been asking for the statistics that show police presence deters shooters or other interlopers from causing problems in a building. "We cannot predict an unpredictable event, " said Valeski. "We can only do what we think will protect our students and staff and provide them with security and support."