East Williston ed board renews security talks

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The Wheatley School's student online newspaper, the Wildcat, and staff pictured with the Board of Education Monday night. (Photo courtesy of East Williston school district)

The East Williston Board of Education plans to renew talks about a possible fence at the front of the Willets Road School as part of an ongoing effort to improve district schools’ security.

At the board’s meeting Monday night, President Mark Kamberg said the board will begin conversations again to possibly erect a fence at the front of the school property and eventually report back decisions moving forward to the community.

“We certainly want to incorporate the opinions of everyone involved,” Kamberg said.

Fencing currently exists on the east and west sides of the school already.

Kamberg also addressed the district’s Jan. 10 meeting with the East Williston Village Board about the erection of a possible retaining wall and fence bordering the North Side School on East Williston Avenue.

According to Kamberg, one issue the district and village discussed was accessibility to the property for emergency response from the fire and police departments.

Both parties are now considering two gaps in the fence, about four car lengths wide according to a picture the board presented, on the east and west sides of the property. These access points would be more than wide enough for firetrucks and other emergency vehicles to mount the curb and gain access to the property, according to the school board.

Talks surrounding the erection of the North Side School’s perimeter fence have gone on for months in the district. The fence is part of the district’s safety initiative to handle an emergency situation similar to the Sandy Hook Elementary School and Stoneman Douglas High School mass shootings.

At a meeting in June 2018, Kamberg said the board would move ahead with the plans based on feedback from the Nassau County Department of Homeland Security.

Also at the meeting, Superintendent Elaine Kanas announced that the district would soon be launching a climate study as part of the next five-year plan.

Students, parents and staff will be provided with login information for a survey conducted through BOCES as part of the five-year plan’s social and emotional learning initiative, according to Kanas.

The survey will focus on what is currently working in the district and areas for improvement, Kanas said. She also encouraged the community to participate in the survey.

“The survey is only as valuable as the number of people who complete it,” Kanas said.

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