EDGEMONT, N.Y. — While some parents had their reservations, a majority of the Edgemont parents who spoke at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting were in favor of placing an armed security guard in each of the district’s schools as an effort to increase safety following the Newtown, Conn. school shootings.
Superintendent Nancy Taddiken and Edgemont board members listened to dozens of parents' concerns for their children. The discussion focused primarily on what security measures still need to be taken in Seely Place and Greenville Elementary schools, which hold students from kindergarten through grade six.
Taddiken promised parents that the board will weigh all the suggestions in their considerations.
"These are tough times. I wish there was one right answer," Taddiken said. "Entrusting other people's children to our care is something we take very seriously."
Safety measures were put into immediate effect the Monday following the Dec. 14 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, said Greenville Elementary Principal Jennifer Allen and Seely Place Principal Ed Kennedy. The Edgemont schools only have one available entry point now, and school authorities are now strictly monitoring who picks up the children at the end of the day.
Installation of a buzzer and camera system was nearly complete in both buildings, they added.
But some parents were still concerned that wasn't enough. Referring to the gunman that entered Sandy Hook Elementary and killed 26 people, Jonathan Faiman said he would like to see some type of armed security for his first-grade son.
"Every measure they're taking isn't exceeding what Newtown already had," Faiman said. "I'd feel better if there was a more comprehensive system in place."
Other parents suggested constructing bulletproof doors and windows, a parking sticker system for parent and student cars and a higher police presence on campus. Kennedy said he'd bring up the concerns in his meeting with Greenburgh Police Chief Joe DeCarlo on Thursday, whom he hopes will favor having a police officer drive through the campus at least once a day.
DeCarlo will also review safety plans and procedures with Edgemont officials after he conducted a walk-through of all the district buildings.
Yet while some parents agreed that their children were used to seeing security in public, parents like Nancy Ellis thought school should be a nurturing place where kids don't feel like they're in immediate danger.
"My kids used to go to school in the city, so I've had the experience with an armed guard and a metal detector. It really bothered me to always see that," Ellis said. "I don't believe a security guard would have prevented an incident like Newtown's."