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Letters to the Editor: Playing it Safe with School Security

Resident Tina Silverio has some thoughts on school security and letting adults in during school hours.

I wanted to relate something to the parents and students out there that a friend told me about, regarding security in schools.

Most, if not all schools require a buzz-in at the doors. How many of us have "piggy-backed" in, or had someone come in behind us, even as we held the door for them as we passed through?

How many times have kids, passing through the lobby, seen an adult at the front door, waving to them to open it? Kids have happily opened the front door for me on numerous occasions over the years without my even asking. They just see someone approach and the door opens, and yes, it's convenient, and it's a friendly, polite gesture!

My friend (in Poughkeepsie, NY) went to pick her son up at school today and had to be buzzed in- she had to say who she was, who she was there for, and purpose. As she was buzzed in, a man attempted to slip in at the same time, as she tried to close the door behind her. He told her "they know me". She said it doesn't matter- you have to get buzzed in. Needless to say, he burned a hole in the back of her head as they stood in the office a couple of minutes later, as he muttered under his breath. 

Parents must realize that this is nothing personal and the precautions are in place to keep everyone safer, especially our children. There's no foolproof answer to this problem of violence in our schools (a microcosm of society) but we can have deterrents in place to help decrease the incidence of violence.

Also, please tell your kids not to open the door for an adult that they don't know personally and well enough. Schools, perhaps a gentle reminder to kids to not be so darn helpful and friendly by opening the doors? The visitors can buzz in. It's not a big deal. If they're not buzzed in and are standing there waving their arms, why might that be? Think about it. Perhaps the office chose NOT to buzz them in for some reason? Who knows. Make the decision, students, parents, and visitors, NOT to be a weak link by trying to be friendly. It sounds horrible, impolite, and all that, but there's no room for that sentiment now. 

Sincerely,

Tina Silverio, Mansfield

 

Do you have a letter to the editor? Feel free to submit your letter through our local voices feature or email dan.libon@patch.com.

Lisa Ann Pizzi-wiseman February 04, 2013 at 12:52 PM
I totally agree with everything Tina has said! However, after the Sandy Hook tragedy, my husband had to bring something to my son @ Qualters Middle School, the school buzzed him in without asking who he was or why he was there! I have to say, that really bothered me as the office personnel does not know him, he could have been any stranger going into that school! He should have been asked some simple questions before being allowed into the school!
Tina Mqs February 04, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Thank you, Lisa. It's always bothered me, but I never said anything about it. The friend i refer to in my letter was a teacher in FLA when a student killed a fellow teacher (Barry Grunow) on the last day of school in 2000. In that case, the perpetrator was 13 yrs old, and so this wasn't a case of an adult getting buzzed-in. But she holds a bit of a different perspective and reminded me of what I see all the time.
Tina Mqs February 04, 2013 at 03:01 PM
We like to believe it can't happen here. It stinks to have to be paranoid to a certain point. If you think about it, we have to consider deliverymen with a dolly of boxes, or whatever. It's so inconvenient, but how can we make exceptions?
Tina Mqs February 04, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Also, Lisa, don't forget that the schools have the cameras trained on the front doors- so that's great! But it's time to confirm arrivals, perhaps. Not to mention, the office- especially the one at the high school- is away from the front doors, and anyone getting buzzed in would have no problem going someplace other than straight to the office.

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