- Ewing Township Board of Education
Ewing Schools Release: Update on School Security
January 20, 2022
As you know, in December, the Ewing Schools and districts around the state and nation, had the frustrating task of dealing with social media-generated rumors regarding school security that caused a significant amount of stress and anxiety in communities.
In lieu of this development, I wanted to take a moment and provide an update regarding some of the school security measures that we have put in place and future endeavors that are being considered. Please keep in mind that there are some things we cannot go into much detail about, because it could potentially compromise the very security we are trying to ensure.
- The Ewing School Community’s support of the Referendum ‘18 initiative allowed the district to install an ultra-modern technology-based security system. This research-based system is designed to quickly and effectively handle school emergencies and addresses areas of concern that have emerged in previous school safety incidents.
- The Ewing Schools has a state of the art comprehensive camera system in all of our schools.
- Each school campus has a dedicated assigned School Safety Coordinator. These staff members are experienced adaptive experts in security with law enforcement backgrounds.
- Each school district in New Jersey is required to have one certified School Safety Specialist. These highly trained individuals have been through a state program in school security and serve as key resources and advisors with regard to school security, and are required to undergo continued training. The Ewing Schools has four certified School Safety Specialists.
- The Ewing Schools has designed and implemented a School Security Rubric, consisting of a detailed and comprehensive review of each school’s security system and preparedness, that is completed by the School Safety Coordinator.
- We have an outstanding collaborative with local law enforcement, consisting of a proactive approach to school security, information sharing, logistical planning and collaborative training and preparation.
- The counseling department is undergoing continued training and professional development on identifying and addressing students who may be dealing with stress, anger or trauma.
- We will be integrating a component into our academic technology curriculum emphasizing the dangers of engaging in social media rumor-mongering and the spread of misinformation that has pernicious consequences.
Moving forward from this point, the Ewing Schools is now doing the following:
- Touring each of our buildings with our security consultants for ideas and approaches to enhance school security.
- Continuing to research ideas and approaches related to school security, including the installation of metal detectors in our schools, and carefully evaluating the positives and negatives of prospective strategies.
- We are preparing to release a survey designed to evaluate the school community’s perception of potential security measures and approaches. Please look for it in the near future and complete it when it is released.
What can school community members do now to keep our schools as safe as possible?
Please remind your children to refrain from making inappropriate comments or statements, even in a joking manner, or perhaps out of anger or frustration, either verbally or on social media. These statements can be taken out of context and have significant repercussions.
Please discuss with your children the dangers of spreading inaccurate or false information on social media platforms. Also, there are a number of “social media challenges" out there that are stupid, destructive and potentially dangerous. Please talk to your children about not partaking in such nonsense.
Please check your child’s backpack daily each morning, to make sure nothing is coming to school, that should not be coming to school. It must be emphasized that bringing any contraband to school will have major implications for a student, including potential removal from the Ewing Schools.
We have to continue to be aware and sensitive to students dealing with psychological or emotional issues, and help them get the assistance they need. We have many experts and resources to help students in need, so please reach out if you know that a child is struggling.
I will conclude by emphasizing the importance of proactive vigilance on the part of the entire school community. Everyone must do their part to be observant, mindful and alert for potential threats and dangers to our schools. Please reach out to a staff member or police if you see or hear anything that you find troubling or worrisome.
By working together as a school community, we can reduce stress and anxiety regarding security and make our schools as safe as possible.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.