Williamsville Schools Discussing Added Layers of Security

1:15 AM, Feb 27, 2013   |    comments
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WILLIAMSVILLE, NY - Since the school shooting tragedy in Newtown, Conn., security has been on the minds of administrators and parents nationwide in schools.

That discussion came to the Williamsville School District Tuesday night, where several changes are being recommended, including beefing up the presence of an armed officer. 

Harvey Wong and Haley Sedore are both seniors at Williamsville East High School.

Both say they wonder why their school district wants to boost security district-wide, to a level never seen here before. Williamsville schools already have many cameras and door buzzers to make the school district well-aware of who's on school grounds.

"We've been talking about how people bring guns into school and I feel we have a very safe environment in school," said Wong.

"I don't know that [the upgrades] will be the most effective, but it's worth a try," said Sedore.

Last month, school board president Carrie Kahn said that students and staff should notice nothing about adding a hallway monitor on each of the district's 13 schools and that, "students should walk into the building and feel the safe environment that they've always seen and heard."

And now, there's an added push to get more buzzers and cameras on school grounds and an added police presence in buildings, things that students may start to realize.

Dr. Scott Martzloff, the superintendent for Williamsville Schools says that the proposals are, "best practices and they're based on research and they make the most sense in providing the utmost security for our schools."

The district also wants to expand the use of an armed school resource officer. Right now, that officer patrols Williamsville schools during the end of the school day. School officials propose having an officer work four hours during class time.

"So that person could be deployed strategically where we see an area where we need to be extra prudent in our approach and they can also be deployed on a random basis," said Martzloff.

Right now, only certain school district officials use a password in order to open up certain doors within Williamsville schools, under the proposed changes every employee would need to have a key card in order to open up a door.

When all the proposals are added up, they come to $300,000 in annual expenses.

"No, this school district is exceptional, they do a great job with regard to traditional security concerns and the most egregious concerns of a Sandy Hook-type of an incident, they're well-prepared," said Amherst police chief John Askey.

When the numbers shake out, school officials say there would be a tax increase if this plan is approved.

Amherst police support this proposal and say that even while Williamsville schools are safe, this would provide an added layer of safety.

The school district is expected to vote on the entire plan, in April.



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