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Letter to the Editor: Scarsdale Coalition for Safer Schools Calls for Implementation of Safety Measures

schoolsafetyThis letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Roger Neustadt on behalf of the Scarsdale Coalition for Safer Schools:

I have attached comments that we intended to read at the Community Safety and Security Forum on January 23. Unfortunately, the District Administration chose not to allow any community members to speak, despite it being billed as an open forum. It also changed from the last forum at which residents had such an opportunity. This is right in line with our position that the District Administration is primarily concerned with controlling the narrative and avoiding public criticism, wherever possible. While we understand that this is not an unusual format, it was a departure from what had been expected and ensured total control.

Unfortunately we hold little hope that a true conversation can be had with this administration as they seem totally unwilling to engage. That is a problem.

Here are my comments:

I’m Roger Neustadt from the Scarsdale Coalition for Safer Schools. We have over 650 parent and family members representing over 1,000 individuals who are concerned about the state of security in the schools, the lack of transparency on the part of the District Administration and the lack of expertise among those responsible for making the decisions regarding the security of our children. Hopefully after tonight we will have more members after tonight! As you may be aware, we have promulgated a list of 21 items entirely focused on security (I have copies for anyone that would like to see it). We call upon the District and the Board to review and institute all of these items, many of which have been endorsed at the Federal level. We believe that one item, in particular, can alleviate most of our concerns and allow us to step back from this discussion with confidence.

There are numerous Scarsdale residents who have offered their assistance to the process of improving security for our kids. These are people who have backgrounds, expertise and experience in various aspect of building security, personal security, emergency response, interaction with state and federal security officials and emergency response planning. These people perform such tasks for a living. The response that these parents have received from the District has been regrettable at best. They have been ignored, patronized and rejected. Why? We have still not received a legitimate answer despite multiple requests. The only answer we have received is that the information is too critical to be revealed to anyone other than District employees. As these security experts would really jeopardize their own children be releasing critical information to the public.

We ask, no we demand, that the District, or the Board appoint a committee of Scarsdale residents, who are experts in various areas of security, to provide meaningful oversight to the District’s security efforts. There is simply no valid reason not to take the vital step. We would like this commitment to be made here, today, by the Board and the District. If not, please tell us why this is a bad idea.

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