Security Update from the Superintendent

Security Update from the Superintendent
Graphic of the word "Security" written in blue marker on clear glass

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Dear Pascack Valley Regional Community,


The tragic school shooting at Stoneman-Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has hit our community hard.  Unfortunately, as we mourn the lives lost in Parkland, we are reminded that such tragic events can happen when we least expect them to occur.  Further, such an incident has moved school districts around the world to take a fresh look at school security, seeking ways to effectively make improvements.  


To this end, I have discussed our current security measures and protocols with our Board of Education, local law enforcement, administrative team, faculty, and parents who have contacted me in recent weeks. Below is a summary of those discussions:


Current measures in place

As I have mentioned before, our district is one of the few in North Jersey to hire Special Law Enforcement Officers – Class III (SLEO III).  These armed security officers are retired police officers from our community who have been and continue to be trained to respond to a variety of situations in our schools.  In addition, we continue to work closely with our local police departments as they help ensure our staff and students are trained in proper lockdown protocols, as well as work in conjunction with us during our lockdown drills.  Our district has also invested heavily in physical security systems, such as door access systems and a new video surveillance system with over 120 High Definition cameras. Finally, we continue to provide mental health training and support for our students and families.  


Moving forward

Based on all of these conversations, we recognize we are on the right path regarding security, but as with any system or protocol, there is always room for improvement.  As we finalize our 2018-2019 school budget, the plan is to include several new improvements while enhancing the existing systems. These additions and enhancements include:  

  • Hiring a SLEO III for after school hours, as our facilities are active with extra and co-curricular activities

  • Physical and protocol enhancements to provide improved security in our front lobby and public spaces

  • Enclosure of the breezeways to minimize the number of entrances into the school buildings

  • Expansion of the door access system to include all exterior doors and further expand our district video surveillance system


I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to discuss their thoughts on where our security is strong and those who have furnished constructive suggestions on ways we can improve.  Providing a secure environment for our students, teachers and staff to foster an outstanding learning environment will continue to remain a priority for our Board of Education and administration.


Sincerely,

Signature of the Superintendent of Schools

P. Erik Gundersen

Superintendent of Schools

Pascack Valley Regional High School District


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