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We all agree that nothing is more important than the safety of our students.
In response to the horrific school shooting in Parkland, FL and heightened security concerns in its aftermath in our own Nutley school community, our district, township, and law enforcement officials have taken swift action to help ensure the safety of our students.
Currently, guns are not permitted on school property, and we support that policy. Now we must examine the issue from all angles and use informed best practices to make meaningful improvements in school security. We call for:
1) Rapid implementation of security measures as determined by the district’s planned vulnerability assessment.
We urge the district to identify and hire a qualified firm to conduct this assessment immediately, provide a readout to the community, and develop an action plan to implement the recommendations as soon as possible.
2) Review and enforcement of all current school policies and practices regarding school safety, and cooperation of all parents, students, and faculty in complying with these policies.
3) Secure entrances at all Nutley schools, and elimination of trailers.
Since there is no current funding for these measures, we may have to agree to trade-offs and compromises to make these essential changes possible.
4) Strong, continuous communication among all agencies (school officials, law enforcement, mental health providers) and the public (parents, students, community members) to help detect and prevent violence, reducing the chances that a student who is ‘on a path to violence’ will fall through the cracks.
5) A plan based on best practices for further strengthening a culture of kindness, caring, and shared responsibility that helps prevent any student from feeling or becoming marginalized.