It has been a year since the Nutley Board of Education first introduced armed security officers at JHWMS and NHS. It is my opinion that the School Safety Officer (SSO) has proven to be a good addition to our security program not only for the day to day benefits the position brings to the District, but also the extension of their presence at after-school events.
The Board is looking forward to revisiting and evaluating specifics of the program; its logistics, administration, direction, cost, training and expansion of the SSO role.
The current SSO positions are filled by experienced, retired, police officers. Our teachers, including substitutes and Extended Day Staff, are also made part of the security team training. All interact routinely with the Nutley Police and Fire Departments. They participate with our Nutley police and fire fighters in regularly scheduled fire, shelter in place, lock downs and evacuation drills, and have had many unscheduled interactions as well due to suspicious activity in and around the area of our schools; all of which re-enforces the importance of having our students follow and practice evacuation procedures. It is the extensive and repetitive practice that will have us prepared in the unlikely event of a real emergency.
Among many specific enhancements to the overall security program, all rooms in the buildings have been identified by number for ease of pinpointing locations during an event. We have also installed restroom locks and card access management systems to limit access to specific areas.
It is important to note that in 2007, we were left with Referendum funds (approximately $1,350,000) which we used to construct new secure entrances at Spring Garden, Lincoln, and Washington Schools and the High School. Radcliffe was also provided a new set of interior doors. Capital Reserve funds (approximately $2,254,000) were used to place trailers at Yantacaw, Washington and now Spring Garden School. Safety and security procedures for the trailers as approved by the State and local police and fire enforcement are in place and operational as well.
Our schools have numerous safety protocols in place to ensure students and staff are safe from harm. Creating a comfortable environment for our teachers to teach and our students to learn is paramount.
Your Board of Education does not take security lightly. Our schools have numerous safety protocols to ensure students and staff are safe from harm yet comfortable in their environment. Comfort and safety for our teachers to teach and our students to learn is paramount.
I support maintaining a constant review of our security programs and implement changes/additions where and when necessary including continuing to expand the program to ensure overall effectiveness.