LEWISBORO, N.Y. – In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy, the Katonah-Lewisboro Board of Education has hired outside specialists to conduct a safety and security audit of its campuses and school buildings,
“We need a rigorous re-examination of our existing resources with an eye toward reinforcing our systems with necessary investment,” School Superintendent Paul Kreutzer said. “Strengthening safety and security of our facilities is at the core, but it also means we have to make sure our emergency plans are viable and that our preparedness is top notch.”
The board hired Altaris Consulting Group to conduct a security needs assessment. The last assessment completed for the district was in 2003. Through its evaluation, Altaris representatives will analyze the district’s safety response protocols, procedures, training and management teams, as well as evaluate all six school buildings in the district. The company will then guide the district in the development of district-wide and school-level safety plans and response teams, as well as facilitate safety drills for the district.
“The district takes emergency preparedness very seriously,” said Katonah-Lewisboro Board of Education President Mark Lipton. “There are a lot of angles here, such as more acute weather emergencies, intruder alerts, the impact of communications and so forth. We want to be proactive and make sure proper protocols are in place, as well as do what we can to firmly strengthen the security within our buildings.”
Lipton said Altaris Consulting is a reputable company that has conducted similar assessments for neighboring districts. The complete audit is expected to take approximately five months.
“This is part of an important three-pronged approach to overall safety,” Kreutzer said. “Those three elements are student risk behaviors, our physical communication resources and site surveys. We have been engaged in productive discussions regarding our communication systems and what it will take to improve them, and now the Altaris effort for our sites will begin. There is no doubt in my mind that this is going to be an ongoing effort.”
Kreutzer also noted there is projected to be an increase in security resources in the budget for 2013-14, and the new school resource officer is expected to begin working in the district later this month.