From PTA President Robin Klueber:
Yesterday I met as part of the building-wide school safety team. This consists of representatives of every school within the Brandeis campus; some Principals, Deans, Operations officers and the Level 3 School Security Officer, Ms. Jefferson, as well as other PTA Presidents.
The first order of business was to sign off on the building wide safety plan, which is a coordinated plan for building-wide emergencies. Although the protocols of this plan are public information, the specifics are confidential, i.e. where students might be hidden during a hard lock-down, etc. (This is when everyone in the building seeks cover, as opposed to a soft lock-down when certain appointed officials are responsible for sweeping kids to safety, etc.) The school practiced a soft lock-down yesterday when the meeting finished; I was there. It was orderly and seamless. There will be two other fire drills before December 8, as mandated by the DOE. There was some concern that the cafeteria may need some attention, i.e. sound system, proper locked doors. This will be addressed.
Upcoming Events: Success Academy children will be participating in a Halloween march outside, around the building, next Friday, October 30, in the morning. The Board of Elections has determined that the building will be a polling site on November 3. There is no school for Frank McCourt kids that day, but Success is open. Discussion on logistics to keep the Success students apart from voters.
School Safety Officer Jefferson requested that Mr. Cruz, a Principal, stay downstairs until 9:50. Currently he monitors the school entrance only until 9:30. If a child comes in after 9:30 they must be escorted to their school floor by one of their school’s administrators. As there seems to be heavy traffic and often times bottlenecks still after 9:30, it was decided that Mr. Cruz will stay on until 9:50, when he will be relieved by Mr. Schwartz.
The meeting was visited by Police Officer Sgt. Brennan, who is the liaison between the precinct and the school safety team. He noted that citywide precincts are looking at how to best use school safety officers. In some places (Washington Heights) the school safety officers have been replaced with police officers who patrol. This is a beginning discussion, and further meetings and investigations will have to happen before any change.
He spoke too about the antiquated system of “Safe Haven”, where local businesses shelter children who may have trouble on the street, coming from the subway, etc. This program was instituted over 15 years ago, and may not be necessary now that most children carry cell phones. Danielle did suggest that one local business, Green Leaf Deli, may be willing to support such a program, if it were to be re-instituted.
The meeting adjourned at 9:40. I subsequently spoke to Ms. Jefferson who said she would be happy to speak to us at our next General PTA meeting on November 10 re; the scanners, current procedures, and the proposal that Sgt. Brennan addressed. I also asked Danielle about the situation where a student is not allowed into the building and thus marked late. This may happen only if there is a situation in the lobby; someone giving the officers trouble, fighting, bringing something into the building which is not allowed, etc. (Susan, as far as your concern with Sam, you should contact Danielle or Mr. Bruss directly to see when/why this happened with him).
I propose that, at our next EB meeting, we invite Danielle to speak as to the scanners/security, then we should formulate how we will plan the General meeting regarding this issue: do we want to draft a letter to the DOE and Police Dept. and vote on it? Do we want to wait to hear what Danielle and Ms. Jefferson have to say first? How will we then ‘advertise’ the General meeting?