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Howell Public Schools Institute New Guest Procedures

Work done in conjunction with Howell Police Department

Starting today visitors to the Howell Public Schools will notice changes in protocol as the district works to address the community's safety concerns.

Superintendent Enid Golden said the steps being taken following the shooting in Newtown, CT are being taken after working with the Howell Police Department to ensure the safety of students and staff. 

The Howell schools already had a single point of entry in all buildings but the new policies will work to make those entrances more secure. In her letter Golden laid out the changes visitors can expect to see now:

  • No visitors are to enter the building with students after arrival. All visitors to our schools will need to have an appointment to enter the building. (If you require assistance, an appointment must be made after the start of the school day.)
  • At the buzzer, it is expected that all visitors will state the purpose of their visit and/or specify with whom they have the appointment.
  • If the appointment is verified, the visitor will be buzzed in and must present themselves to the main office immediately upon entry.
  • Visitors will be required to show identification, and sign in to obtain a visitor's pass. 
  • It is imperative that visitors do not hold the door open for others behind them. Each visitor must be acknowledged individually through the buzzer system.
  • If you must drop off an item for a student (lunch, homework, etc.) you will be directed to deposit that item in a bin outside the main entry.
  • If you will be picking your child up early, you must notify the office in writing prior to dismissal. If it is an emergency, call the office to notify the school.
  • Front office secretaries will be required to call 911 and notify school administrators if the visitor is uncooperative, does not adhere to the procedures, or becomes threatening.

Golden said that if these procedures are not followed it "may result in a lockdown." She said the changes are not geared to dissuade visitors, "who are, as always welcome in our schools." They are being done to ensure the safety of the people in the building. "We are saddened by the need to employ this protocol, but the safety of our students and staff must remain our priority."

As with any changes Golden said there may be "glitches," as people get used to the new policies. She said through those growing pains the safety of the schools will be ensured. "Please accept our apologies in advance, as well as our commitment to implementing these new guidelines as efficiently as possible."

Anyone with questions about the changes is encouraged to contact the building principals.

Following a recent meeting of the board of education a Safety Task Force was established that will look at possible changes for the future. Golden said those changes could include, "individual building risk assessments, panic buttons, police officers at each building, and cameras and access cards." The group consists of board members, staff members and community members which includes parents and members of the police department. 

Board member Tim O'Brien and District Business Administrator Ron Sanasac are chairing the Task Force and Golden said feedback from the community is always appreciated. Anyone with thoughts or concerns are encouraged to email communitylink@howell.k12.nj.us.

GREG SALICCO January 17, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Carolyn Ann, please do not engage in a conversation after you willingly furnished information about you and your family. Trying to retract what you have said in previous blogs you wrote clearly defined your value in this conversation. When it comes to the safety of our children I have no tolerance, it seems these conversations have already passed that. For the record please read my posts again as I stated NO ONE here knows how combat works, that includes myself. Read the previous post you have made esp. #3 when you did add value to life. “(1).While I no longer have a child in Howell schools (2). have had concerns over school safety for many years as my daughter was in the Howell School system a while ago (3). this could easily add $2k to each homeowners property tax. And when your child us no longer in the school system, are you going to be shaking your fist at the mayor & planning board?
veracious January 18, 2013 at 12:40 PM
Carolyn Ann, some people just have HIB personalities and I believe you have been engaged by such a person. Better to disengage. BTW, I believe money is a valid concern. How many parents hire armed bodyguards to keep their children safe 24/7? Why are they not taking that measure? Maybe they should if money is of no concern. It is an option for parents that feel that level of need for the safety of their children. In my opinion, there are many places that our children frequent where they are much more vulnerable than in school. Where do we draw the line between personal/parental responsiblity for safety and public responsibility for the safety of its citizens? When it is a public responsibility, which public body is responsible, BOE, local, state, federal and to what extent?
GREG SALICCO January 18, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Veracious, I am glad you have another person to now talk with that share’s your concerns. We send our kids to school to be safe, shootings in schools are on the rise. No one said money is NOT a concern but apparently the both of you did not do your homework, government grants pay for such things as safety in our school so it’s not as big of an expense as you may think, I guess many other schools that are now doing this must be wrong. For someone to say our kids can not be safe 24/7 is correct BUT they should be safe in school it’s your option to send your son to hang out at the mall or movie theaters, other schools have found ways to pay for this with out taking your last penny, I wonder if they found out about homeland security grant programs (SHSGP). I take it you have not been at any of the safety meeting as well? To answer your question many parents such as Marines, Navy, police officers volunteered there time to stay at the school but were told not at this time so we can not take that measure. 1 of 2
GREG SALICCO January 18, 2013 at 03:05 PM
answer to your second question : "When it is a public responsibility, which public body is responsible, BOE, local, state, federal and to what extent"? Law provides that a student is subject to the control and authority of the school once the student leaves her or his house on the way to school. "A pupil shall: (a) comply with the policies of the trustees and the rules of the school that the pupil attends; (b) pursue the required course of instruction; (c) submit to the authority of the teachers, principal, and district superintendent of the district; and (d) be subject to the control and authority of the teachers, principal, and district superintendent while the pupil is in school or on school premises, on the way to and from school, or during intermission or recess." Code Ann. §20-5-201(d)
veracious January 18, 2013 at 05:14 PM
There is going to be a great deal of differences of opinion on this, what people will find reassuring, necessary, unnecessary, alarming etc. It will be up to the Safety Task Force to make recommendations that strike a balance that is acceptable to the majority without overburdening the community. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Some people are just not respectful of that fact.

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