Monday, October 20, 2014

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Southern Tier schools beef up security

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Southern Tier schools beef up security
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In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, many school districts across the nation are reviewing their safety measures and the Southern Tier is no different. Our Elyse Mickalonis spoke with district officials and law enforcement officers about what’s being done to keep students safe at school.

BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- The shock from what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday is still fresh on the minds of educators across the Southern Tier, leaving them to wonder how do we prevent something like that from happening here?

“The most important thing for us in leadership in a school district is the safety and security of our clients and our personnel, our clients are our children,” said Dr. Suzanne E. McLeod, Union-Endicott Central School District.

Union-Endicott’s Superintendent Dr. Suzanne McLeod says each school in the district met Monday morning to go over their current plans and lockdown drills.

"When a situation happens, sadly, if it does happen, because everyone knows the routine already,” said McLeod. “They go into it and they're not second guessing it, 'Is this really happening or not?'"

Many district leaders were also in contact with law enforcement agencies over the weekend.

“We did have a police presence in all of our schools this morning as children were coming off the buses as a reassurance to the community and students,” said McLeod.

Captain Fred Ashkar of the Broome County Sheriff’s Department added, "There has been no specific threats to any schools within our jurisdiction. We are simply doing this to increase vigilance of law enforcement."

Officers say the effort is going to be in place on a day by day basis. They’re urging parents to take this tragedy seriously.

“Not only law enforcement, but the citizens in the school districts, that they remain vigilant and open-eyed to these type of activities and the easiest three numbers to push are 911,” said Ashkar.

McLeod says she’s not surprised by the heroic actions of the teachers and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary and she thinks any teacher across the nation would have done the same thing.

“That is something that can’t be bought or taught. It’s is the core being of people who choose to work in education,” said McLeod.

McLeod says taking extra steps to keep students safe isn't something you think twice about because educators are the ones watching over children while they’re at school.

Other schools that are seeing increased presence from the Broome County Sheriff's Department include George F. Johnson, Harpursville, Chenango Bridge, Charles Johnson and Maine Memorial. State Police are posted at Whitney Point and Linnaeus W. West.

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