Greenburgh Area Schools Increase Security Procedures

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Greenburgh and Elmsford schools should look into hiring a police officer to patrol campus following Friday's school shootings in Newtown, said BOCES Safety Coordinator Isabel Burk.
Greenburgh and Elmsford schools should look into hiring a police officer to patrol campus following Friday's school shootings in Newtown, said BOCES Safety Coordinator Isabel Burk. Photo Credit: File/Samantha Kramer

ELMSFORD, N.Y. — Elmsford and Greenburgh schools are re-evaluating their safety procedures in response to Friday's school shootings in Newtown, Conn.

Elmsford School District students will see a larger police presence for the rest of the week: Mayor Robert Williams and Elmsford Commissioner of Police Frank Rescigno said police officers will patrol the school campuses for this week and for as long as needed.

"There's no end date set. They'll be here until people feel more comfortable," said Elmsford Schools Superintendent Barbara Peters.

Rescigno and Elmsford Chief of Police Stephen Foster also took a tour of the school grounds on Monday to assess the buildings' safety and how Elmsford could improve safety measures. 

The main entrance is now the only entry point available for all school visitors. For Alice E. Grady and Carl L. Dixson, all visitors must be buzzed in by school administration. Alexander Hamilton has a security guard at its entrance.

On Monday morning, Elmsford school faculty also met to review safety procedures and discuss how to address student concerns following the tragedy. Peters is asking parents to have patience as the school attempts to address all their concerns.

"We've asked all counselors and trained personnel to remain available to talk to students as a result of these terrible events," Peters said.

The Edgemont School District will also be reviewing its current building procedures and emergency plans to identify any potential improvements. Edgemont Schools Superintendent Nancy Taddiken promised the Edgemont community that school faculty will be providing reassurance and a sense of stability to all students.

"As difficult as it is to try to fathom what occurred and why, all of us will do our best to put the needs of your children, our students, in the forefront during a season that should be filled with wonder and joy," Taddiken wrote in a letter to Edgemont district residents.

Taddiken also released a list of school psychologists and guidance counselors for parents and students to contact if they are concerned with security.

Greenburgh Central 7 Schools Superintendent Ronald Ross refused to comment on how the school district will handle parents and safety concerns.

BOCES Safety Coordinator Isabel Burk said schools should look into hiring a school resource officer for their campus. While security guards are helpful, there's no substitute for law enforcement, she said.

"I think more than ever, we need an SRO in every school building — at least part-time," Burk said. "If it were up to me, that would be the No. 1 choice on what schools can do to improve."

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Comments (4)

Greenburgh Central 7's Supt Ronald Ross refused to comment? Figures - he doesn't know - that's why there's no comment. The district has had a safety plan in place for years. They even had a school resource officer for a number of years and chose to remove him because of the budget. We have a PR person who could have made comment - she had much to say at the last Board of Education meeting. Mr. Ross would rather chastise NY Governor Cuomo & he Board of Regents on the APPR and other educaional issues. This doesn't rise high enough on his personal PR list - Just watch the 12/4 Board meeting to see what is really important to the Supt.

The GC7 elementary schools front doors are locked,but so was Sandy Hook - Lanza just shot through it. And the back doors at all GC7 schools - Elementary & Secondary are often propped open for easier access by teachers. In addition, many of the locks on WMS/WHS don't work - something Mr. Ross should know since he was recently the HS principal.

You've exposed the fact that you are NOT a parent of an elementary school child in our district. I'm not sure when or if your child(ren) ever attended this district. Please try to inform others of the FACTS.

The doors at early Childhood Program, Lee F. Jackson and Highview are NEVER propped open for easier access by the teachers! That is a blatant lie.

I'm at the schools very often at different times during the day and have never seen that. If you have witnessed open doors in the past, why wouldn't you say something to Ms. Simone or Mr. M to ensure our children's safety? Or, you'd rather come online to blast the district in which you pay your taxes...

Clearly, you're a full blown member of the HRC 'Hate Mr. Ross Committee',. However, it's borders on foolery to state that he doesn't know our disaster plans.

It's no mystery why he isn't talking. He's protecting the occupants (students AND teachers/staff) by not advertising what is being done. You should be happy about his diligence and that he is following the advice of security experts. All schools need to have one controllable point of entry, metal detectors and a camera to a vestibule their guest must enter to view entrants, where they show themselves and that they aren't carrying weapons before gaining entry.

"Greenburgh Central 7 Schools Superintendent Ronald Ross refused to comment on how the school district will handle parents and safety concerns."

That's interesting...not sure why there's a 'no comment' when he's given many comments to this author in the past. He was visiting our schools, talking with parents and teachers. He puts children first, so commenting on our already-existing safety plan may have been very low on his list of things to do. We also have an administrative disaster designee and a public relations contact team, so again, I'm not sure why there's a 'no comment'.

GC7 is doing an excellent job working with parents. Administrators spoke with parents throughout the day about their concerns, fears and anxieties. They made themselves available as needed, all day yesterday.

Our schools are very secure with police patrols in the community and buzz-entry doors. Our administrators are constantly running safety drills (for fire and other disasters), even before this recent tragedy. Our teachers are diligent and our students have been well trained to be silent and follow directions in a crisis.