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Board of Education to Hold School Safety Discussion

Howell Police Department to take part

The Howell Public Schools will hold its annual reorganization meeting tonight and as part of the night there will be a discussion looking at the safety practices in the district. 

Superintendent Enid Golden said the discussion will focus on what the district's current security measures are and what options they have to improve them. She said since the shooting in Newtown, CT the administration has been looking at improved steps including ID scanners that could be used in the schools. "We'll talk about what's out there and some of the suggestions that we have heard from the community such as metal detectors and security guards. 

Golden said Capt. Jeff Mayfield of the Howell Police Department is expected to attend the meeting as well as other officers to discuss what the department can do to help the local schools. 

Board President Tim O'Brien said he expects a "vigorous discussion," about what can be done to help keep the students and staff of the district safe. "The Newtown shooting was so horrific that it changed the way that many people think in terms of how safe our schools are," he said. "It absolutely demands that we look at that very carefully to see whether or not we can make our schools safer while still maintaining an educational environment that benefits our children."

Since the shootings in Connecticut the Howell schools have been put at a higher state of alert, including a recent incident when shots fired by nearby hunters could be heard at the Griebling School. An investigation by the local police department determined the hunters were within their legal areas for hunting. 

O'Brien said he believed the members of the board will work to make sure everyone is safe. "I think we're looking at all options to see what can be done because each one of us was so impacted by what happened that all of us share one common overriding concert that we have to do whatever we must to ensure the safety of our students and staff."  

Mayor Bill Gotto said any decisions by the township will wait for a formal request from the board once they have decided what needs to be done to keep the schools safe. "There needs to be a process that needs to be followed," he said. 

Gotto said there have been some discussions about whether to put police officers in every school and the pro's and con's of that decision. "Part of me understands that," he said. "But there needs to be studies and evaluations. Some people think it's a good thing to do. Others think it might not make a difference."

Beginning on Wednesday Marlboro schools started placing officers in every school. It was reported that for 90 days of having the officers in school it will . 

Mayor Gotto said if the local board decides that is what is needed in the township schools, there will "have to be serious conversations about how we're going to pay for it."

The mayor also said he was gathering more information about the Griebling incident and seeing what changes could be made to ensure the safety of people in town while also respecting the rights of residents to hunt in the township. "I don't know that I'm all that comfortable with it when a kid gets dropped off at school and a parent starts to hear shots behind the school," he said of the current buffer ordinances. "I'm willing to listen to the conversation."

The next council meeting is set for Jan. 22 and Gotto said as more information is collected it could be an item up for discussion at that time. 

Thursday's meeting starts at 8 p.m. at Middle School North.

Guess Who January 03, 2013 at 06:47 AM
Part 1 Everyone wants the kids and all people to be safe especially the kids, but people need to look at this realistically. If a nut job wants to kill you or kids they will find a way. No one is safe anywhere from a person hell bent on killing. You'd have to lock people up because you 'suspect' they may go nuts someday, but you never know who's the crazy one. I had a kid named Randy who worked for me a few days here and there back in the 70's He was kinda shy. worked hard seemed like a good kid. Never a problem at all. One night in the 80's I saw him on TV . He kidnapped a young teacher at a bar in SeaBright and shot her leaving her for dead. She was found alive the following day in woods in Middletown. She died a few days later . No one could believe he did that. A few years after he was put in jail, he made the news again in the early 90's . He tried to escape Trenton State Prison and was caught in the barb wire for almost a whole day. A guy who lived up the street from me in Aberdeen who also seemed like a pretty good guy, was arrested for robbing, raping and murdering a old lady in her 80's. He stole her 'Hummels' and that's how they caught him, when a smart cop was busting his wife for minor pot charges, he noticed the Hummels and checked them somehow determining they were the old lady's . The girl confessed everything. My point there is ya never know who'll end up a killer. Guns don't belong in schools
Guess Who January 03, 2013 at 06:50 AM
PART 2 if you take away a gun, they'll build a bomb or drive a truck into a crowd of kids, or cut the brake lines on a few busses. Realistically, finding a bad guy with a legal gun is kinda like winning the lottery 10 times in a row. Not much chance of it happening . and if they have illegal guns, the only way they'll get caught is when and if they do something idiotic like the dope lawyer from Howell who went to court to represent someone and was arrested for drugs, weapons, and outstanding warrants. You want to put cops in schools or give guns to teachers? . Statistics show cops have a higher suicide rate than most other professions. They's also made headlines for shooting their spouses, shooting neighbors and fleeing black people. Lets not forget the recent arrest of a NYC cop who was caught with illegal guns and was plotting to kidnap, kill and eat a woman for his meal ! And many a teacher has been known to crack and beat up a kid or 2 or 12 . Look at well trusted Jerry Sanduski. Cops at the doors won't stop a killer from going through a window or shooting from a parked van. The better solution is teach your kids what to do in an emergency and to make schools do more for bullied and emotionally challenged kids, along with mandatory locking up of guns in a safe when away from home. Back ground checks for all gun purchases. Panic lock down doors in schools and to teach teachers how to stay calm and help the kids escape if and when necessary
Guess Who January 03, 2013 at 06:53 AM
Part 3 Sadly while these may help, nothing will stop the wacko except good luck and alert people who see what he's up to and call the cops immediately as the motrher of a guy I worked with did when she called the cops to report he had guns and was very distraugt. he never did hurt anyone, but they did take away hid guns. He was also a nice guy but 2 of these guys were constantly being picked on, mocked and teased . That seems to be a common denominator that must be addressed beginning in Kindergarten , but teaching kids not to bully others is very important and probably the most important way to try to end violence in schools and in the USA
AJM January 09, 2013 at 06:09 PM
teaching kids to stand up for themselves especially when a pattern of bullying is established imho is more important. I have heard of and seen way too many scenarios where the child being bullied stands up for him/herself and is suspended. While I dont condone violence self defense is NOT VIOLENCE it's simply SELF DEFENSE. From experience i know first hand defending yourself is sometimes more important than to back down or tell a teacher and be labled a wus or a rat. I hardcover textbook to the face does wonders to a bullies confidence! Bullies are held in high esteem as others dont want to face the rath of these cowards. I have countless scars on my knuckles from putting bullies in their place.

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