In the wake of the school shooting last week in Parkland, FL, many parents and educators around the country are asking what can be done to protect their children. Glen Cove is no exception.
Dr. Maria Rianna, the district’s superintendent, said that she’s been getting a lot of emails from concerned parents, inquiring about the schools’ security systems. Rianna said that she’s concerned too. “Each year,” she said, “we’ve increased our security measures through our budget process,” adding that over the past five years, there have been significant improvements to the security of the district’s buildings. “We are planning additional security measures that we’ve been in conversation with the board about.”
As far as readiness, Rianna said that “Different types of drills are held throughout the year.” She added that the district was re-evaluating its fire drill procedure, as a precaution against an attacker pulling the fire alarm and using the existing procedure to their advantage.
The district consults with Peter De Luca, the director of the county’s health and safety training and information service, as well as with local law enforcement. Rianna said that the most valuable thing she’s learned from these experts is that “our vigilance and awareness is probably the number one skill we can have at preventing these things.”
Rianna, who sounded understandably shaken on the phone talking about these precautions, noted that the type of attack that befell Parkland is every educator’s worst nightmare.
In the past, she has aired on the side of caution. “I have evacuated [buildings] before for precautionary reasons, false alarms.”
Rianna said that keeping her students safe is the most important thing to her, but she added, it was also important to keep their minds at ease. One of the victims, she said, has “touched the lives of many” on Long Island, including Glen Cove, but would not provide details. She did say, “We have provided a list of counseling agencies, and we have councilors available in our buildings. She added that some teachers asked to be made aware of anyone, student or teacher, who needs emotional support.
According to the Nassau County Police Department, 40 of 56 Nassau County school districts are using the RAVE system. An app installed on school administrator’s phones, RAVE allows for police to be alerted directly if there is an active shooter or medical emergency. Once the app is engaged a call is placed to 911 allowing for police access to all of the school’s security cameras. By knowing exactly where an incident is taking place, it is hoped that police response time will be quicker, and more effective. Nassau County Detective Lieutenant Richard LeBrun said that “due to the safety of the schools,” a confirmation of which districts have RAVE could not be released. “We don’t want to identify the ones that do not have it,” he said. “Districts are inquiring on a daily basis and more are signing up soon.”
The Glen Cove Neighbors page on Facebook was also abuzz after the tragedy, with suggestions for how to improve security at the schools. A post that started with a question about the metal detectors developed into a lengthy thread of over 500 posts. The posts featured a wide range of recommendations, including bulletproof glass, armed guards, gun control, better parenting, and home schooling.