Jul 30, 2014

Panic Button Update, BOE Recognizes PTA Council

Levittown board gives updates on school security following Sandy Hook.

Panic Button Update, BOE Recognizes PTA Council
Story by Rebecka Schumann.

A rare public-be-heard at the Levittown Board of Education meeting on Wednesday night at Levittown Memorial Education Center focused solely on the school district's security following Sandy Hook.  

Resident Michael Scully spoke on the issue of panic buttons, asking the board to expedite the decision to install an effective system to better initiate lockdown procedures in the event of an emergency.  

"I believe our focus should first and foremost be on the protection of our children and staff members in the event of an attack or other emergency," said Scully, who spoke on behalf of his daughter, a kindergartener at Gardiners Avenue and wife, an English teacher at Jonas E. Salk Middle School.  

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"If made as accessible as fire alarms are, a panic button system would allow instantaneous and uniformed reaction time and communication during an emergency where time and communication are really our only defense," he said.

The idea of installing panic buttons throughout the school district was originally raised during the BOE meeting in January, but Scully said the longer the district waits the longer they remain vulnerable to copycats.  

"In the meantime there exists people all over this country, unfortunately, who are currently planning tomorrow's ugly news headlines," Scully said. "We must remember that although the wounds from Newtown may have started to heal, our guard will slip lower and lower as time goes on and we can not allow that to happen this time."  

President Michael Pappas assured residents that children's safety is their top concern.  

"You're not by yourself," Pappas said. "We are parents. We are students. We are all members of the same community and every kid that goes through the door I consider my kid…We are going to take as many measures as possible, feasible, to make our kids as safe as possible. You can rest assured that is going to happen."

Superintendent Dr. James Grossane said the board is incorporating funds into next year's budget plan in anticipation for future security updates as well as using current funding to make steps toward creating a safer school district. 

"I know it may seem we are moving slowly, we prefer to say we are moving prudently,"Grossane said. "We will be moving and we've already moved and there are certain things that are already in the works."  

The board announced that all the elementary schools are now equipped with updated intercom systems, which gives teachers the capabilities to call in a lockdown.  

PTA Council and Members Recognized

The Board of Education took time to recognize the diligent work of Levittown's PTA Council and members throughout the district Wednesday night. 

"There is a small group of people in every community that do a large share of the work and our PTA happens to be part of that," Pappas said.

"We are very grateful for all that you do for us," Grossane said. "Thank you ladies for all that you do and for all your active members that help us out on so many things in so many ways." 

19 present members were honored, including Levittown Council PTA Executive Committee President, Patricia Genco, First Vice-President Esta Lachow, Second Vice-President Dawn Nocella, Recording Secretary Eileen Petrullo, Corresponding Secretary Mary Rickard, Treasurer Angela List, Historian Donna Waitkus and Past President Cindy Mulz.  

The next BOE meeting will be held on March 13.  

Related Story : BOE Discusses Security Changes Following Sandy Hook

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