Education

West Orange Superintendent Supports Walkout; Board Focusses on School Security

2c1699b5c2d7b8e16bdf_WP_20180312_21_03_24_Pro.jpg
Jeremiah Salinas questions whether West Orange Board of Education is creating financial plan to make necessary security changes happen quickly. Credits: Alan Grossman
2c1699b5c2d7b8e16bdf_WP_20180312_21_03_24_Pro.jpg

WEST ORANGE, NJ – With the one month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people being observed today, the West Orange Board of Education (WOBOE) put a major focus of its Monday meeting on issues concerning school safety and security.

Superintendent Jeffrey Rutzky announced that students at the West Orange High School (WOHS) will be participating in the national student walkout on Wednesday, and that he is supportive of their efforts to bring issues concerning school safety and security to the fore. He added that there will be no consequences for students participating in the walkout as long as they leave and return to the school in an orderly and timely fashion.

“It is an opportunity to raise awareness and hopefully stop the tragic gun violence that has taken place in schools for far too long,” said Rutzky.

Sign Up for E-News

He also confirmed that the West Orange Police Department and West Orange Public Schools have formulated a plan that will permit students in grades 6-12 to express their feelings as part of the national student walkout, while respecting other students who prefer to remain inside the schools during the walkout.

He said that the large snowfall has complicated security issues regarding the walkout, but that these challenges will be managed as long as the students fully cooperate.

“When students attend their social studies class, they will have the opportunity to reflect on a prompt that the social studies department created about their experience of the walkout,” said Rutzky. “It is important to tie events such as this into the curriculum so it is truly a learning experience on participatory democracy and the importance of standing up for what you believe.”

Rutzky added that the students who do not walk out will be held in a supervised location within the school. For any students who participate in the walkout and return when the 17-minute walkout concludes, Rutzky said it will not be considered a cut or absence from class. 

Elementary students in grades PreK-5 will not participate in the walkout or any form of demonstration.

In a related matter that concerns security, Rutzky has recommended a 2018-19 calendar year revision that will close schools on Election Day.

WOBOE member Sandra Mordecai spoke in favor of this change.

“I like the idea of schools being closed on Election Day,” she said. “It makes our schools more secure for the kids.”

Gregory Elementary School teacher Jean Tirrito thanked Rutzky for recommending this change. She also suggested that any school facilties that cannot be closed for Election Day should consider utilzing a tent outside of the school building.

Rutzky said that many good ideas were generated at the Safety and Security Forum on Feb. 28. He added that people who could not attend the meeting can provide suggestions and/or ideas on www.woboe.org, which now has a form that community members can fill out regarding their thoughts on ways to make West Orange schools safer.

“We want to give the community an opportunity to make their suggestions for short-term and long-term solutions,” said Rutzky.

He said that every door in this district has been evaluated to make sure it meets the highest security standards. Rutzky added that the WOBOE is working with Homeland Security and local law enforcement to make sure that every door that needs to be changed is identified.

“Doors are important,” said Rutzky. “When you secure the perimeter of a building, you can keep bad people out.”

During public comment, resident Jeremiah Salinas asked the board members if they are creating a financial plan to make most of the needed security changes happen in a timely manner.

WOBOE President Ron Charles said the board will need to budget for long-range security needs in the district, but added that establishing a Safety and Security Committee is a “top priority.” 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Deegan Dental Implant Special!

June 19, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ - OUR NEW DENTAL IMPLANT SPECIAL OFFER WILL GIVE YOU REASON TO SMILE!

Deegan Dental is happy to announce our New Dental Implant Special Offer that will give you a reason to smile! Our New Special Offer, that expires 11/30/2018, covers a single Complete Tooth Replacement (including the Implant, Stock Abutment and E-max Crown) for only $2,200 per Implant; a Great Value ...

CycleBar Livingston Offers 4 Rides for $39

LIVINGSTON, NJ - CycleBar Livingston -- Premium Indoor Cycling -- is offering four rides for $39 for new riders only.

New customers can take advantage of this deal at CycleBar Livingston at 277 Eisenhower Parkway. Call them at 973-261-5647. Visit livingston.cyclebar.com.

Millburn's Peter Serruto Drafted by Cincinnati Reds

June 6, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - Peter Serruto, who just completed his senior season at Millburn High School, was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 22d round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft on Wednesday.

Serruto was the 649th pick overall.

The 6-foot, 190-pound right-handed batter has been a defensive standout since he first suited up in a Millburn uniform as a freshman.

"Defensively, ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, June 20, 6:30 PM

Pleasantdale Chateau , West Orange

Taste & Toast Gala

Giving Back

Wed, June 20, 6:30 PM

Pleasantdale Chateau , West Orange

Taste & Toast Gala

Giving Back

Fri, June 22, 5:30 PM

Ginny Duenkel Pool, West Orange

West Orange Community Sports & Games Night

Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation Donates New Scoreboard to the West Orange PAL Baseball Field

On Sunday, April 15, the West Orange PAL baseball teams began their opening ceremonies of the spring season with a heartfelt dedication of a new scoreboard, donated by the Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation.  The foundation was created to honor the life of Michael, a lifelong West Orange resident, who tragically died in a car accident on the day after his 19th birthday, Aug.

Mt. Olive Memorial Weekend Tournament: Bringing Baseball Back to West Orange!

“I’ve got to find the right spot”

“Two out rally!”

“Protect the ball”

“You fired up? I’m fired up! I can’t hear you!”

“Breathe!” “Deep breath, reset”

“Whoa..where are you going?? You can’t move”

Just a few of the statements you may have heard this past weekend at the ...

Penny Sherry of West Orange Receives Distinguished Award from NCJW/Essex

June 20, 2018

Penny Sherry of West Orange, NJ, was the recipient of the NCJW/Essex Service to Section Award, recognized as a member of NCJW/Essex whose generosity and resolute work as a volunteer has changed the lives of women, children and families. The award was presented at the NCJW/Essex Annual Installation and Awards Evening on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at Cedar Hill Country Club in Livingston, NJ.

A ...