PISCATAWAY, NJ – Keeping students safe and school climate were on the minds of parents as new Piscataway Schools superintendent, Dr. Frank Ranelli outlined the district’s goals and initiatives for the upcoming school year.
During Wednesday’s Superintendent Chat where almost 100 parents gathered in the high school’s media center to hear updates on the district’s plans to educate their students, Ranelli said school safety and security is his ‘Number 1’ priority.
“We take this very, very seriously,” he said, mentioning that Scott Cartmell, who retired as Piscataway’s Chief of Police was named Director of Security for the district and has been instrumental in developing training programs and policies to protect students and staff.
This includes coordinating safety drills with the police department and having children practice classroom lockdown methods and learning the terminology that would be used should there be a security threat, such as an active shooter, said Ranelli.
He also described ongoing projects to retrofit schools and the district office with double-door entrances and requiring visitors to show photo identification and have a purpose for being there.
“We feel we have enough people in place to be able to cover all areas of every building,” said the superintendent as he acknowledged the roles of the new safety officers who have been assigned to each building, an initiative that started this past school year.
But while these measures are meant to keep unauthorized people away from the schools, some parents expressed concerns about students who may cause problems while class is in session.
“We now have eleven behaviorists in the schools to provide ongoing services,” said Ranelli, adding how they are also training teachers to know the signs to look for in a troubled student.
And he assured parents the district will do its best to keep them informed, saying he believes in being as transparent as possible.
“We want you to know what we are doing and why, to the best of our ability,” said Ranelli. “You should feel that we are taking care of you and your families.”
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