School security was once again the focus at the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night at Oyster Bay High School. Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Stephen Valente reported on safety and security in the schools. He addressed concerns expressed by the community that the plans for increased security will alter the welcoming look of the entrances of each building.
“The new vestibules will look very much like the existing vestibules,” said Valente. “The difference is that the glass will be replaced by bulletproof glass and a teller style window will be added on the side of the vestibule for security clearances.”
Valente added that people who want to get a better of idea of what the new security measures will look like should visit the district bond site on the school district’s website, www.obenschoolsmac.org.
“Photos will be added to the bond page on the website to show what these vestibules look like at other schools that already have them in place,” said Valente.
In the public comment section of the meeting, Oyster Bay resident Dr. Alexandria Ross said she was in support of the bond proposition that addresses the school’s security concerns.
“Unfortunately, we are living in a world where tighter security and safety is essential,” said Ross, who has a third-grader at the Vernon School. “Additional security cameras, enclosed vestibules and visitor management systems provide a physical statement that we take the safety and security of all who enter our buildings very seriously and as such, it provides not only protection, but also peace of mind. I hope we never need to test the ability that all of these security measures can provide. More importantly, I never want to have to look back at an unfortunate event and say, ‘if only we had installed better security and safety.’”
Ross, a professor of elementary education at Lehman College/CUNY and a former New York City public school teacher, said she was also in support of the redesign and expansion of the arts and music wing in the high school.
“We are lucky to have a strong arts program here in Oyster Bay, but we have outgrown our facilities and we desperately need to update them so that our children can grow and learn in these very important ways.”
School Superintendent Dr. Laura Seinfeld and Valente will be attending the Oyster Bay Civic Association meeting on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m., to answer questions and concerns about the bond. The bond is scheduled for a community vote at Oyster Bay High School on Thursday, Dec. 17, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The bond will be the main topic at the next school board meeting on Dec. 1.