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Seekonk School District Wants $127K for Security

The funding would be for the first phase of a three-phase plan to make the schools safer.

Town Meeting on Feb. 25 will determine whether the Seekonk school district should receive $127,009 to begin a three-phase plan to improve security at the local schools. The school committee voted 4-0 Monday to support the funding.

School Committee Chair Mitch Vieira said the funding would cover the first phase, which is "mainly to allow the police and fire individuals who are in the building to communicate freely and not hit any cellular drop zones or radio drop zones while they are in the building."

Vieira said a private consultant did a security audit of the Seekonk schools shortly after the deadly mass shooting at Sandy Hook School in Connecticut. The audit combined with discussions among leaders of the school, police and fire departments led to the creation of the three-phase plan. The other phases, for which the school district will ask to be funded at a later time will cover "enhancing our access control and surveillance monitoring" and "safety reconstruction, including some physical structure changes," Vieira told Seekonk Patch after the meeting.

During Town Meeting, school district officials will make a presentation focusing on phase one, but it will also include information on the other phases, Vieira said.

School Committee member Brian Freitas said during the meeting Monday that paying for security measures was a necessary expenditure.

"Our request for money here is by no means a knee-jerk reaction to the unfortunate and tragic events at Sandy Hook late last year," he said. "This is a well-thought-out, well-planned process … to make our schools the safest buildings that they can be."

Interim Superintendent Arlene Bosco wrote in an email to Patch that she has received many questions about this issue since Monday. Because of this, she issued a statement to the media:

The recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School is a sobering reminder that schools must be vigilant regarding the safety and well-being of students and staff. As with most school systems, it is timely that we review our current safety and security systems and protocols. Seekonk Public Schools has been diligent in this process and this was confirmed by results gleaned from a recent security audit.

Since most security measures span a wide continuum, we have prioritized a list of suggestions to expand our existing security measures. This process will be ongoing and closely coordinated with the police and fire departments.

At the request of the district, the Seekonk School Committee has recommended that the communication capabilities be aligned with recommendations from a recent Communications Audit conducted by both the Seekonk Police Department and the school department. At the town meeting on February 25, 2013, the district will request that monies be allocated for this purpose.

Carol Bragg February 01, 2013 at 08:52 PM
A comprehensive nonviolence curriculum has not been available that long. For a good discussion, see Nonviolence or Nonexistence? King's daughter: Message is as vital as ever -- http://thetandd.com/news/topnews/nonviolence-or-nonexistence-king-s-daughter-message-is-as-vital/article_887ef206-60f7-11e2-a8dc-0019bb2963f4.html
deb of see-attleboro February 01, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Carol: I don't think we need a nonviolence curriculum. I think what is needed is a code of conduct that demands non-niolence.
Wendy Wagner February 01, 2013 at 10:44 PM
I don't think the communications part was in the original article I read (or I could have missed it), but I would agree that good communications is crucial in any crisis response and that the need for such would be a great investment and its use would extend beyond a shooting situation to almost any kind of crisis. Thanks for clarifying and putting my mind at ease.
Wendy Wagner February 01, 2013 at 10:47 PM
What do you mean by "code of conduct," and who would enforce such a code?
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) February 01, 2013 at 10:58 PM
For clarification regarding one of the comments posted above, nothing in this article was changed from the original version except for a few grammar fixes. If any significant information is changed or added to an article, I always note that either in the article or in the comments section.
deb of see-attleboro February 01, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Teachers and administrators should enforce a "code of conduct'. Do I really have to spell out what is acceptable in a work or learning environment?
Todd Ouellet February 01, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Stephanie, Good points. Please give us the details of this Independent agency that did this security audit. Is it the same company we are going to contract to do the suggested work?
Todd Ouellet February 01, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Emcee, those are the questions. IT seem nobody has the answers. Most likely a tax increase for the funding. I am ok with the spending as long as its done effectively. Our selectmen tend to use our tax money like monopoly money. But what do you expect with at leaset one of them has his car registered in NH to avoid taxes here. Hmmmmm?
Amy February 02, 2013 at 12:58 AM
Another suggestion to prevent this from happening here in our own little private Idaho; if you have a person with mental "issues" living with you that burns their hands and feet because they can't feel anything, plays violent video games day and night and can't be left alone even to go to the bathroom, then lock up your guns and the nut. Some simple common sense once again would have prevented a horrible disaster. I personally was shocked that everyone in the town wasn't surprised it was him. From all accounts, the school in Newtown was more prepared than most. Sadly, it still didn't stop it. We can't live in a cocoon. Home school is the only way to protect our kids 100 percent. Is that what we want? We just never stop thinking of new ways to spend money.
Amy February 02, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Dave what is meant by restructure? I'm assuming all schools need to be restructured? Does that include North school? We still own that correct? What about Bristol Aggie? Is that included? I'm just asking. It's not meant to be sarcastic. I know it reads that way. Thank you.
Amy February 02, 2013 at 01:11 AM
It's a very good article Jonathan, thank you for keeping us informed.
Wendy Wagner February 02, 2013 at 02:09 AM
Was that my comment? I take responsibility for my mistake in not reading it (or processing what I was reading) all the way through. :)
Wendy Wagner February 02, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Deb, I think you and Carol are not talking about the same thing at all.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) February 02, 2013 at 02:11 AM
Not a problem at all, Wendy. And thanks for the compliment, Amy. I just wanted to clarify how we make corrections on this website.
Wendy Wagner February 02, 2013 at 02:12 AM
Actually, I can clarify what I mean. A code of conduct governs the behavior of children in the school until the day they graduate. A non-violence curriculum would, I assume, be part of education for life beyond graduation day.
Todd Ouellet February 02, 2013 at 02:23 AM
Dave, the phrase, "can not be released", should not exist when the information is funded by the town and directly effects the town. And the work done prior to the meeting should be open to public review and scrutiny!
Dave Abbott February 02, 2013 at 02:29 AM
I would ask that everyone try to be a little patient. I understand you might want figures for what different things cost but the reality is that the process of determining our options and costs will take time, hence why only phase one was presented for the upcoming town meeting, and that took until the last minute. To answer what I can, improvements would be for our active schools, not North or Aggie. Costs would be different for each of these building, as they all have different designs with each presenting a unique challenge to get them to a common standard (I cannot be more specific at this time). When I can provide the consultant name I will. I too am always concerned about costs. I can only say that I have not seen anything that appears excessive in the planning so far. That does not mean something might not be expensive, just that it appears justified. I cannot be specific, as the time for public discussion is a way off.
Todd Ouellet February 02, 2013 at 02:41 AM
One more before I go. Kudos to all in the blogs that post their real names. That includes you Carol with whom I am so polarized. As for the rest of you, if you really care, be known! Any coward can hide behind anonymity and spout comments. Ill even go as fair to give all my phone and email Todd Ouellet 508 369 3898 team2aseekonk@gmail.com
Todd Ouellet February 02, 2013 at 03:00 AM
Yes amy. Maybe we need to organize. I have put out my number and email Todd Ouellet PcExpress 508 369 0525 team2aseekonk@gmail.com
deb of see-attleboro February 02, 2013 at 10:29 AM
I'm not only concerned about cost. I am also concerned about process. Shouldn't the money come from the MCSF and be managed in coordination with the capital improvement committee? Or maybe that is the plan?
Emcee of Seekonk February 02, 2013 at 12:29 PM
@Carol... "If we can, through training, desensitize people to taking lives, we can also, through training, resensitize people to valuing human life -- their own and others." I agree with you 100%. However, I think it would take three generations to get the job done, and everyone would have to be in sync. A lot of parents lose control of or influence over their children at a certain age. The pull of the outside world is stronger than even the best of homes. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't start trying. There is another active string on Patch about religious schools. Although I'm not terribly religious, certainly don't participate in anything, I believe in the teachings and calming effect of most religions. Kids seem more polite to one another, to their teachers, etc. when attending these schools.
deb of see-attleboro February 02, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Which string is that, Emcee? Did I miss it?
Emcee of Seekonk February 02, 2013 at 12:56 PM
@ deb ... I just went to look for the string called 'Catholic Schools Raise the...', and it appears to have been taken down. Just as well since it got corrupted immediately with pedaphelia.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) February 02, 2013 at 02:31 PM
It was taken down at the request of the person who submitted it.
Emcee of Seekonk February 02, 2013 at 03:00 PM
Sigh. Too bad because it had the potential of being an interesting conversation if it had not been spoiled immediately.
deb of see-attleboro February 02, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Agreed. I flagged the first comment as inappropriate to no avail. Inappropriate is such a subjective thing. Then I was just going to ignore the hate. But once you made your very appropriate response, I could no longer resist. I'm only human, ya know!
Carol Bragg February 02, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Emcee: I always appreciate your comments and the tone in which you offer them. Yes, I agree that it will take three generations to get the job done. Two generations have watched as the problem has grown worse. I recommend nonviolence education based on my own professional experience in Rhode Island. I began serious organizing of nonviolence training in the wake of a spate of fatal shootings in the South Providence-Elmwood and Mt. Hope neighborhoods. We did week-long Youth Leadership Academies for at-risk youth, sponsored nonviolence training for 20 Providence police officers who then taught at-risk middle school students at the Providence Police Academy, oversaw a nonviolence training program at the RI Training School for Youth juvenile facility that the director of DCYF credited with keeping the lid on over-crowded conditions, trained Providence school teachers who incorporated nonviolence education into their curricula, and did a program at the Textron-Chamber of Commerce Academy. We reduced the recidivism rate at the RITSY (saving taxpayers money) and turned around gang members. This training -- as well as subsequent training and the street workers program of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence -- not only reduced youth violence. It also enabled lower income students to develop real leadership skills. One was appointed to the Providence School Board. But funding was always a problem. We need to make a societal and institutional commitment.
Carol Bragg February 02, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Emcee: I should add that we don't seem to care about cost-effectiveness. It costs far more to incarcerate youth and adults than it would cost to do effective nonviolence education in our schools. The estimate for incarcerating a young person at the RI Training School for Youth in the late 90s was about $80,000 a year -- far in excess of the per pupil cost of public school education.
Emcee of Seekonk February 03, 2013 at 01:08 PM
@Carol... "We need to make a societal and institutional commitment." I agree, but there doesn't seem to be an appetite for that at this time. You seem to stay away from the politics of things, but I believe the tone of a country or any entity is set at the top. Right now there is an awful lot of civil unrest in the country. People are aggitated for any number of reasons: unemployment, taxation, etc. and it shows up primarily in the young. They have energy, albeit misplaced. Rattled and frustrated, they lash out. They kill at will. Life has no value, their own included. I think the concept of a god is a good thing for a population to have. It is an anchor. Because religions generally preach non violence and have family values and respect life, they have a calming effect. The young work off their energy playing sports instead of cruising around the neighborhood to see who they can kill. Non-violence can be taught in the schools and it probably is, but in the crowded, desperate, lawless ghettos of Chicago and Detroit, no one is listening.
Todd Ouellet February 03, 2013 at 11:52 PM
Emcee, I agree. But let us delineate between being non-violent and being a pacifist. One of the reasons we have this bully epidemic in society is we bringing up a generation of people that can to stand up for themselves. The last great generation that brought us through WWII understood that concept. Again maybe we should revisit our history before we move forward.

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