Protect our Children in Washingtonville Central Schools

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Proposition to Station Armed Security Personnel in our schools

Each year, our nation’s schools are entrusted to provide a safe environment for approximately 55 million elementary and secondary school students in public, private, parochial and independent schools. Families and communities expect schools to keep their children safe from threats - no task is more important than creating a secure learning environment for America’s youth. This proposition is to place 2 Trained, Armed Security Personnel (ASP) in each of our 5 schools within the Washingtonville Central School district. One of the best ways a school can protect itself against such threats is to have a carefully selected, well-trained Armed Security Personnel on campus. Preferred hires are Retired Law Enforcement Officers or Retired Military Veterans. The firearms training that all police officers and military service members receive helps ASPs recognize the sound of gunfire (telling it apart from fireworks, etc.) and discern whether it is getting closer to the campus. Listed below are details on the involvement and effects of these Armed Security Personnel.

Armed Security Personnel Roles and Responsibilities:

The Johns Hopkins Center for Technology in Education says that ASPs have three main roles and responsibilities. One is that of a law enforcement liaison. Another is that of a law-related counselors and law-related educators who develop relationships with students. An ASP's primary role, however, is to provide law enforcement-type services to a school to encourage everyone to follow all of the school regulations. ASPs investigate allegations of criminal incidents and make referrals of students to juvenile authorities and law enforcement when necessary. In addition, an ASP can monitor a police radio throughout the school day and has knowledge that helps the ASP evaluate threats heard on that radio. Executive Director, National Association of School Resource Officers operations director Mac Hardy, a former School Resource officer, recalls a time when he received radio reports of an escaped convict approximately 35 miles down a highway from his school. Upon evaluating the threat, Hardy chose not to order a lockdown, in part because he received information that the convict was a non-violent offender who had walked away from a work-release assignment. Such threat assessments can be more challenging for individuals who lack law enforcement experience. ASPs can also assist the administration in planning and execution of safety and first responder incidents. ASP can assist in:

  • How to create effective plans for multiple types of emergencies (not just shooters) and what such plans should contain.
  • Why exercising such plans is necessary and how (and how often) to execute such exercises.
  • How to develop situational awareness, to recognize quickly when something different than normal is happening.
  • How to quickly evaluate when unusual sounds, events, etc. represent threats to the school.
  • How to safely and efficiently reunite students with their families after a crisis.

ASP Duties:

ASPs are expected to work to reduce juvenile delinquency rates by establishing close contact with students and to build positive relationships with them. ASPs also conduct security inspections, monitor crime statistics and work with local police and students to design crime prevention strategies. The ability to work closely with school administrators is a must for any ASP, as is the ability to train school personnel in handling crisis situations. As an ASP, you also must attend and participate in many school functions, including at night and on weekends. With the ability to employ 2 ASPs per school, coverage of one, or both ASPs can be coordinated to accommodate schedules and prevent overtime pay.

ASP Pay and Working Environment

Salary for an ASP depends on the district’s pay scale but should be in line with other employment of similar responsibility and training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and sheriff's patrol officers made median salaries of $55,270 in 2012. Two Armed Security Personnel per school, with 5 schools in the district is an annual expenditure of approximately $552,700 annually, which is a .6% (6 tenths of a percent) increase from last year’s school budget of $92,291,918. The ability to hire a retired Law Enforcement Officer or Retired military veteran on a part-time basis will help reduce payroll expenditure. An ASP might have an office, but spends most of the day out in the halls, cafeteria and school grounds. The idea is to see and be seen.

In conclusion, the expenditure of a small percentage of our budget will positively influence our schools and school safety with the addition of Armed Security Personnel. The benefit of having trained, qualified retired Law Enforcement in our schools to both be a liaison and mentor to both students and staff is invaluable. The protection and proactivity of ASPs will deter threats and violence in our schools, making the schools once again a safe, secure place of learning and education. Our current system of prevention utilized by districts all across the county is clearly failing, and our lack of proactive change could be catastrophic.

In Best Regards,

Diana KyDon

A concerned Parent

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