Pearl River School District administrators met with two representatives of the Orangetown Police Department this week.
The meeting served to continue the district's efforts to review and improve safety procedures in its buildings, a higher priority for many schools nationwide since the shootings last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
Pearl River Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Morgano provided an update during Tuesday's board of education meeting at the district administration building.
"We reviewed our safety plans again (and) talked about incident terminology," Morgano said. "We will be conducting several drills before Jan. 18, when midterms begin, including lockout, lock down and shelter drills. Some will be announced and some will not.
"This is an ongoing process. There is no end to it because there is no end to the need to improve our safety."
There are safety committees for each of the district's five school buildings -- Pearl River High School, Pearl River Middle School, Evans Park Elementary, Franklin Avenue Elementary and Lincoln Avenue Elementary. Each has a representative on the district safety committee, which is chaired by Director of Athletics Todd Santabarbara and Pearl River Middle School Principal Maria Paese.
Morgano pointed out that the doors to enter the middle school and elementary school are locked during the school day now, something that was not done in the past. The district is looking into a buzzer system for those buildings, which would be paid for in part by a grant that is already in place.
"The high school is a much more complicated building and will require other types of solutions," Morgano said. "We will explore those, too. We are keeping as many doors locked as possible. Those that are not locked those entrances are monitored.
"I went to one of the doors that used to be opened and it was locked. I used my key to get in and a woman stopped me and asked how I got in. I like that."
Among other items from Tuesday's meeting:
- The board of education approved a new agreement with the Pearl River Teacher's Association Nurse's unit, which is effective July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015.
- District Clerk Mary Flanagan offered a reminder that the next board of education meeting, set for Jan. 22, will begin at 8 p.m. because there is a Rho Kappa Honor Society Induction at 7 p.m. that day in the Pearl River High School auditorium.
Editor's note: Check back with Patch for more from Tuesday's board of education meeting, including a presentation by 9-year-old district resident Tommy Carroll.