Pocantico Hills Increases Safety After Newtown Shooting

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The Pocantico Hills Central School will post a security guard to the playground during all outdoor recess periods, require staff to wear IDs and hire an additional monitor, among other measures designed to enhance security.
The Pocantico Hills Central School will post a security guard to the playground during all outdoor recess periods, require staff to wear IDs and hire an additional monitor, among other measures designed to enhance security. Photo Credit: Meredith Shamburger

POCANTICO HILLS, N.Y. – The Pocantico Hills Central School District has instituted several additional safety measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., Superintendent Valencia Douglas said in a letter to parents.

“Here at Pocantico Hills we feel our school is safe, but we can always be safer,” she said. “Consequently, we met with the crisis team and reviewed our procedures for supporting children and adults. While we know we can never fully stop a tragedy from happening, we can be safer and more prepared to respond.”

Douglas has outlined 15 measures for student safety that the district is currently doing and plans to do in the future, including posting a security guard to the playground during all outdoor recess periods, requiring staff to wear IDs and hiring an additional monitor.

Officials are also limiting entryways into the school during the day and evening. During a school day, parents and students will be required to use the front office entrance to drop off items and bring in tardy students and afternoon prekindergarten students. Substitute teachers are required to sign in at the front office.

All doors and Gate 2 will be locked during the school day as well. The district is asking parents not to drop off students before 8 a.m., because no teachers will be able to monitor them and doors to the school will be locked.

After-school and evening activities will feature an additional evening security guard, who will sign in everyone after the 3:30 p.m. dismissal at the gym area.

“I believe the measures we have taken will continue to ensure that our students and staff are safe and able to learn free of worry,” Douglas said.

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