Hofstra university school safety forum tackles tough topics


A school safety forum hosted by the Nassau County Police Department at Hofstra University on Sept. 24 offered a detailed look at school shootings, cyber bullying and the opioid epidemic.

Parents and students witnessed a demonstration of how police react in the case of an active shooter, learned about an upcoming medical training program called Stop the Bleed, heard from recovery experts and engaged in a dialogue on cyber bullying.

Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder noted that the content was graphic, but said “You need to understand that this is reality. It’s no longer if it happens; it’s when it happens. And when it happens, we are prepared. This police department has never been so engaged with the superintendants and principals of this county.”

Superintendent Kenneth Card Jr. agreed and said that the district has increased its number of security guards at each building, added additional security personnel at its secondary schools for evening events, implemented visitor check-in protocols and will continue to conduct its fire and lockout/lockdown drills.

“The district will continue its “laser” like focus on improving overall safety and security throughout the district,” he said.

As overdose numbers are decreasing and the East Meadow School District is bolstering its security, community leaders are thinking of ways they could contribute.

“I am extremely pleased to see our local government and police so aggressively addressing all of these issues,” said Eileen Napolitano, a member of the Nassau County Police Department’s community council. “But there are so many different parts of this puzzle.”

Napolitano said that she was impressed with the incorporation into the Sept. 24 forum of “Stop the Bleed,” an educational program that could be brought into classrooms to teach students how to control bleeding — sometimes using whatever material they have on hand.

Napolitano also recognized how the topics discussed were all connected. For example, a student who is bullied online may resort to opioids or violence. “We must focus on mental health awareness, prevention, education and response,” she added.

At a meeting of the Council of East Meadow Community Organizations on Sept. 25, members discussed what they could do to reach out to children and prevent them from falling victim to any of the above dangers. President Joe Parisi proposed hosting a fair to showcase the community’s various community organizations, such as the East Meadow Baseball and Softball Association, Builders Club and Boy Scouts.