MONTVILLE, NJ – Parents dropping off items for students will need to get out of the habit of ringing the doorbell-type buzzer at Montville Township schools, according to Superintendent of Schools René Rovtar at the June 19 Board of Ed meeting.

Security consultant and likely school resource officer for the ’18-’19 school year police officer Scott McGowan has advised administration to place bins outside of the schools and any items that students have left at home will have to be placed in the bins, such as lunches, books or musical instruments. The bins will be checked periodically throughout the day by school office staff, Rovtar stated at the meeting. Parents will not be allowed in the school to drop off the items as had been previously done, in order to enhance security in the schools, she said. The bins will be waterproof; obviously the items should be labeled with the student’s name. The items can be picked up by students between classes or during lunch, she said, and parents will not be allowed to drop off money or cell phones, and the district will not assume any liability for items left in the bins.

Further, lunch deliveries will not be allowed, aside from lunches run by the parent-teacher organizations, because the district wants to restrict strangers coming into the building, Rovtar said.

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Parents who have a scheduled meeting will be required to show a photo driver’s license or other governmental photo I.D. which will be recorded, i.e., the information on the I.D. will be written down, prior to providing a visitor’s badge, she said. For special events such as the Mother’s Day Tea and the Wax Museum presentation, parents will be issued tickets in advance.

“Such procedures are already in place in neighboring districts and they’re working very well,” Rovtar said. “The purpose in addition to limiting traffic in the schools is to engender responsibility in our students, so they’ll bring the things required for their day.”

The changes will begin from day one after parent notification over the summer, she said. The bins will be big enough to accommodate larger sports equipment, Rovtar said.

Board Member Michael Palma was concerned that larger musical instruments would not fit and that they would be stolen or parents would tell their student to skip the music lesson. Rovtar said that learning experiences would occur.

“It’s a security measure on our part. God bless the parents because they’re accommodating for their children, but it does present a problem for us when they’re routinely coming into the building to drop off things,” she said. “Our dual purpose is to stop that and build a sense of responsibility in the students themselves. We’re not trailblazing here. I think Summit has a zero tolerance policy. Parents are simply not allowed in the building. If a child forgets something, they’ll suffer the consequences and they’ll learn from the experiences. I don’t know if we’re going to be as hard-core but it’s being done successfully in many, many districts.”

Board Member Mike O’Brien called the measures wise and practical.

“It’s not the schools we went to as children,” he said.

Referendum

Business Administrator Katine Slunt said work on the schools that is part of the referendum is moving forward. Work will be done on the high school, Lazar Middle School, Cedar Hill and William Mason this summer, with Woodmont school will be conducted next summer. The roof work and repointing of brickwork had already begun, and dumpsters are located at the schools as work progresses at the schools. The bathrooms in the 300 wing of the high school were being renovated already at the time of the meeting. Cedar Hill, Lazar, and Mason’s libraries had already been emptied in expectation of renovations, she said.

Science Research Symposium Presentation

Graduated seniors Matthew Chang, Katherine Liu and Natalie Sliwowski presented their research from the MTHS science research symposium on copper transporting ATPase PAA1. The molecular biology students studied cDNA sequences from a fresh-water aquatic plant via a Rutgers University student-scholars program. The plant has uses in bioremediation and is a potential biofuel.

Next Meeting

The next board of ed meeting will be July 17 at the high school at 7:30 p.m., when the school resource officer and special law enforcement officer positions will be discussed. It is the same evening these ordinances will have public hearings at the Montville Township Committee meeting at the municipal building at 8:00 p.m.

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