This article was updated at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday with input from Freehold Borough Police Chief Glenn Roberts.
New safety measures are coming to Freehold Borough schools in order to better protect students.
At the Freehold Borough Board of Education (BOE) reorganization meeting, Superintendent Elizabeth O’Connell explained to the board and meeting attendees what changes would be coming to schools in order to ensure school safety.
According to O’Connell, the school’s Safety Committee normally meets quarterly. However, after the tragedy in Newtown Connecticut, the committee got together with Freehold Borough Police Chief Glenn Roberts to come up with ways to keep students safe.
“We have an emergency crisis plan process which we reviewed with input from the police force,” explained O’Connell. “We review and improve the plan based on information that we get through practice drills which we do throughout the year."
In addition to reviewing the plan, O’Connell announced that she is working with Freehold Borough Police to make officers a more common site in schools.
“Chief Roberts suggested providing a desk and chair and have a laptop programmed for police officers so that when they have to do paperwork, they will be able to come and work at the entrances of our schools. Their appearance will be random, but Chief Roberts explained that that is better than routine because it will happen when they are available to do it and their presence will be there,” said O'Connell at the Jan. 3 BOE meeting.
According to Roberts, the suggestion for having an area for police to work at the schools came from O'Connell.
"The schools have suggested that our officers work at the schools, but no plan has been implemented and no decision has been made about it yet." said Roberts on Wednesday.
Other changes that will be coming to borough schools include new monitors for the main office, new classroom doors that allow teachers to lock them from the inside instead of having to lock them in the hallway, a richer training for substitute teachers, and a more in depth form of questioning for secretaries to use before admitting people into schools.
O’Connell mentioned that she had spoken to neighboring school districts to see how they were going forward with school safety after the Newtown school shooting.
“I know a lot of people are reading that for 90 days the Marlboro School District will be employing armed guards for their schools. They are using off duty police personnel and the cost is $100,000. We are not sure what is going to happen after the 90-day period, but they are going to do it for at least 90 days,” said O’Connell. “The Manalapan-Englishtown School District is not going to employ armed guards at this time, Howell Township is in discussion with their police force on possibly using retired armed police officers.”
While Freehold Borough does not currently plan on hiring armed officers, O’Connell stated she would be working with the police department to set up a more visible police force in schools.