WEST ORANGE, NJ — Full-time security guards at each school in West Orange are one of several safety upgrades that have been rolled out for the 2023-2024 academic year, district administrators say.
School Safety Specialists Fil Santiago (Director of Technology and Administrative Services) and David Marion (Principal at Kelly Elementary School) recently gave the West Orange Board of Education an update about some key changes in the district. See their full presentation online here.
The first day for students in West Orange takes place on Wednesday, Sept. 6. Read More: First Day Of School In West Orange (See Important Dates For 2023-2024)
According to Santiago and Marion, here are a few of the things that local parents and students will notice this year.
Full-Time Security Guards in All Buildings – “Superintendent Hayden Moore determined it was imperative to hire full-time security guards for each district school. Betty Maddalena Early Learning Center, Roosevelt Middle School, Liberty Middle School, Edison Middle School, and West Orange High School already have full-time unarmed guards. Each security guard was hired by the district and is considered a district employee. The high school also has a full-time West Orange Police Department sergeant, Sgt. Jeffrey James, on-site. This year, Washington, St. Cloud, Redwood, Mt. Pleasant, Gregory, Kelly, and Hazel are welcoming their new employees for the first day of school. All guards are fully trained in district and New Jersey Law required protocols.”
Raptor Technologies Visitor Management System – “Each school is equipped with the Raptor Technologies Visitor Management System. This system requires visitors to provide photo IDs, a photo is taken for a visitor badge, and a background check from the National Sexual Offender Database is conducted.”
Multi-layered Security Features – “Several other safety and security features are already in place. The district has developed a robust communication infrastructure that encompasses telephone systems, parent notification vehicles, an online presence, student safety monitoring system, internal radios, silent alarms, and a student information system that is hosted off premise. The district has made a conscious investment in outfitting all buildings with interior and exterior cameras that are directly connected to the West Orange Police Department via a private fiber network.”
Training and Drills – “School safety and security is an evolving process. As such, all staff members participate in annual and ongoing training to ensure that we are all well versed in the most up-to-date best practices and procedures to ensure the safety of district schools. All buildings conduct monthly fire and security drills to ensure that all staff and students are prepared in the event an emergency arises.”
Behavioral Threat Assessment Management – “Pursuant to new legislation N.J.S.A. 18A:17-43.4, each school in the district shall establish a threat assessment team composed of school teachers, administrators, and other school personnel. This team will assist in identifying students of concern, assessing those students’ risk of engaging in violence or other harmful activities, developing and delivering intervention strategies to manage the risk of harm for students. The district is working with the NJ Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning to ensure this initiative meets the statutes and regulations set forth in the legislation.”
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