We have been working throughout the week to address the trespass situation that took place at 4AM on Friday, April 11, 2014, in WWHS. We have conferenced regularly with the police who have committed both uniformed and plainclothes officers to the case. In addition, the Second Precinct authorities were involved all the way up to the highest command level and the Deputy Inspector has explained that the SCPD utilized resources from a number of specialized units to determine that this was not part of a dangerous plot or plan against the school or district. Ms. Acker and her team have been in the building during the week and feel comfortable that things are safe and secure for next week's opening. They will be joined by our Suffolk County Police Department School Resource Officer Drew Fiorillo on Monday morning to welcome students and staff and address any questions that might arise.

On a broader note, Friday morning's intruder at Walt Whitman provided us an opportunity to review our procedures and sharpen protocols in response to the lessons learned. Our investigation as well as police department information indicates that this individual entered the building through a door that was not secured at the conclusion of the school day. Rest assured we are taking appropriate action in response to this oversight.

That being said, the responsibility for systems and procedures which limit the potential for this type of breach remains squarely on the shoulders of the district and building administration. We accept the importance of that charge and have worked throughout the week to review procedures, establish a system of redundancies, upgrade equipment, and delineate clear protocols for evening and weekend security. While our protocol enhancements include the entire district, the size, volume, number of doors, evening activities, and weekend use make after hours security in any high school unique. Daytime security is always more straightforward in that only students and staff are on premises for scheduled class sessions. The evening and weekends are more dynamic with hundreds of students, coaches, advisors, clubs, spectators, and community organizations participating throughout the school until nearly 11PM. The goal is to keep the building accessible as a community resource while simultaneously ensuring a safe, secure environment.

Overnight Security Enhancements

1. The nighttime door checks, which have traditionally been done as a custodian finishes cleaning his particular area, will be upgraded. There will now be a second interior check that will be conducted after all students, staff, and outside groups have exited the building. There will then be a third door check conducted by a member of the security team from the outside of the building to ensure that each door is properly secured. Both the inside and outside check will be verified by the responsible personnel each evening and reviewed regularly by our building and district administrative teams. This procedure will immediately commence for the opening of classes on Monday.

Note- The elementary, schools where we have fewer doors and more isolated activity will have an inside custodial door check as well as an outside security check. All other verification procedures will be the same throughout the district.

2. The building motion detection alarms throughout the district, which currently include a silent alert to the monitoring station, will be upgraded to include a loud, audible notification to any intruder and security personnel.

3. The district communication systems will be upgraded to ensure that administrators, lead custodians, the facilities director, security chiefs, supervisors, and district office staff are on the same frequency for instantaneous communication.

4. The coaches and advisors throughout the district will be asked to contact security when they arrive back at any building after hours so a full recheck of the doors can be conducted upon exit. Security will keep a log of these occasions for verification purposes.

5. An identification report of our after-hours electronic door entry will be sent to both the building principals and district office administration.

6. The high school security personnel will lock both the McDonald's parking lot and Paumanok gates after activities have ceased for the evening. A gate will be added to the end of the driveway, limiting main parking lot access from midnight to 5AM.

7. Finally, the ad hoc committee consisting of administrators, security, custodial staff, law enforcement, and district supervisors that convened to address this issue will be made permanent. Additional representation from each building as well as faculty, staff, and PTA officers will be added in an effort to ensure a regular review and upgrade of district safety and security procedures.

Note: Modifications that do not require equipment upgrades will be immediate. Those enhancements that require budget line purchases, contract work, etc. will be expedited as quickly as possible.

Again, these modifications are being instituted to tighten our after hours and overnight campus and door security. All daytime security measures remain in place.

Please be well and have a restful family weekend.

Dave Bennardo