Nutley Board of Education Tackles Safety Concerns
Following the security threat made by a NHS student, the Board of Education made an effort to answer the concerns and questions of the Nutley community by holding a meeting in the John H. Walker Middle School auditorium on February 26. This was the regularly-scheduled February Board of Education meeting. However, post-threat, the meeting’s purpose shifted to a security discussion.
Emotions ran high as parents, teachers, students, and press filled the room with anticipation and hopes for responses from Nutley’s Superintendent, Dr. Julie Glazer, and Board of Education President, Daniel Carnicella. Within the meeting, Glazer presented the community with security information. “Although we report information on a regular basis, and try to be transparent in our communication, I do believe many people were seeing/hearing about the District's safety and security for the first time," Dr. Glazer said. "Until there is a ‘felt need’ people don't always notice the details.”
Carnicella and Glazer answered questions and responded to concerns about the issues within the school system regarding safety. Many community members came up to the microphone and expressed their thoughts through prepared statements written with true dedication to make change.
After the meeting, Carnicella felt as though it was important for the community to voice their thoughts regarding the schools' security, which has recently become a national conversation. “I thought the Board meeting on the 26th was one filled with fear, concern, wants and needs, shock and surprise," Carnicella said, after the meeting. "As a Board, we had the opportunity to hear each concern from the community. We also were able to express to the community that the Board is working towards implementing a process to bring in experts, specializing in security. After their analysis, we can engage the community with the findings."
As the discussion on school safety and security continues, here in Nutley and across the country, questions and challenges still remain. “The biggest struggle is wanting people to understand that we cannot be reactive,” said Dr. Glazer. “Our protocols have been effective, and we have a productive and collaborative relationship with law enforcement that has helped us to implement those protocols. By researching, seeking out security experts to provide analysis and recommendations, and planning for the long-term sustainability of our decisions, we continue to proactively determine what we are doing well, those things that may need improvement, and recommendations to enhance the overall level of protection within our buildings.”
Although society is still searching for a resolution to the gun violence epidemic, there are still small actions we can all make daily to help our neighbors feel safer. “I would also say that I believe that ‘nice matters.’ It doesn't cost anything extra, and tone sets the music,” Dr. Glazer said. “As a community we need to remember that agreeing to disagree is the basis for respect. We will come to collective solutions through civility, collaboration and respect much more quickly if we can honor all voices.”