Schools: Elwood to Add Security; Huntington Meals

The Elwood Board of Education has approved a plan to add armed security outside schools, starting in September.

The board vote for school administration to find and hire a security company was 3-2, with vice president Heather Mammalito and Dr. Sara Siddiqui opposed to the plan.

Some speakers at the July 6 board meeting opposed to the $400,000 security plan said little information had been shared with Elwood residents, while another said the district should delay signing a contract until it has a permanent superintendent.  But others said that armed security would be able to act quickly in the face of a threat and protect staff and students.

Dr. Kennth Bossert, who was superintendent at the time of the board decision, moved to the Great Neck district as of Aug. 1, and has been succeeded by interim superintendent Kelly Fallon, who will serve until a permanent successor has been hired.

The district also experienced a cyber security breach in July, with a breach of its student/staff directory data.

In a letter to families, the district said:

  • It was notified on July 12 that approximately 2,600 data points of student personally identifiable information (PII), as well as staff data had been compromised.
  • The compromised PII has been contained to directory information (i.e., first name, last name, work phone, job title, and school email).More sensitive PII, such as social security number, financial or academic records, home address, date of birth, place of birth, mother’s maiden name, and parent/guardian or family member names were not included in the data leak.

Huntington District Meals

All students in the Huntington school district will be able to receive free breakfast and lunch, Superintendent James W. Polansky told families this week.

The free meal program will continue throughout the school year, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

Additional information on the meal program will be shared with families by principals in the coming weeks.

Mental Health Support

Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced $108 million is available for school districts to support student well-being through expanding mental health supports. The new matching fund, the $100 million Recover from COVID School Program, will provide funding to create or expand programs to help students address trauma caused by the pandemic, prioritizing school districts with the highest need. Additionally, a portion of the $100 million Recover from COVID School Program is available to address student learning loss exacerbated by the pandemic. 

Hochul is also expanding school-based mental health clinics across the state through an $8.3 million investment within a $1 billion mental health plan.

“The effects of the pandemic on our students were devastating and irreversible – that’s why we’re making historic investments to address learning loss and expand mental health support in our schools,”  Hochul said. “By pinpointing where students have fallen behind and getting them the mental health resources they need, this funding will help put New York students back on the path towards success.”      

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