NHS Reacts and Reflects After Security Threat
Nutley Students Returned to School After Security Threat
On Monday, February 26, 2018, students of Nutley High School returned from winter break. The Thursday prior to break, February 15, there was a security threat which closed down all districts schools on Friday, February 16. Parents, students and staff had a variety of emotions upon the reopening of school, after break.
The day the students returned to the high school, the NHS administration held an assembly for each grade level to address students’ safety concerns. In addition, during the week of break, the school reopened its doors, Tuesday, February 20, and offered counseling for the students to talk about their concerns and feelings as related to security.
Additionally, there were new procedures and routines put into place, including having an escort for visitors in the building, monitoring all deliveries and an increased police presence during school hours and at school events. “[The police's] cooperation and collaboration have been above and beyond, and much appreciated,” said Dr. Julie Glazer, Superintendent, in a letter to the community dated March 12, 2018.
Not only are safety procedures constantly reviewed and implemented, but the district is continuing to hold regular safety drills at each school. Students and staff, including substitutes, are trained on what to do during any drill. “Security training is provided to all school staff and students on current best practices and their roles and responsibilities before, during, and after emergencies,” said Dr. Glazer, in a letter to the community dated February 26, 2018.
“Every time we have a security drill, we have the local law enforcement in [NHS] and we discuss possible improvements,” said Mr. Denis Williams, Principal of Nutley High School.
The school district is always looking into the best and most up-to-date security practices. Some safety equipment discussed for potential future installation include, “keyless locking system at NHS; remote locks for all internal doors, a single public entrance at Washington School, additional security cameras and access controls as needed, and alarms which sound when doors are propped open,” said Dr. Glazer, in a letter to the community dated March 2, 2018. In addition, the Board of Education is making visits to other local schools to learn about different security measures.
In the beginning of March, the New Jersey Department of Education Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning and the Board of Education had a meeting to assess the security of all schools in Nutley. This will inform the schools of the things they are doing well and what they need to improve on. “There’s going to be something known as the Department of Homeland Security risk assessment,” said Mr. Williams.
The schools have also encouraged students to be kinder to other students. Having an excellent relationship between teachers, students, and administrators, is an excellent addition to school security measures. The new motto is, “see something, say something,” in regards to safety.