The South Huntington school board will consider adding armed security guards at schools at its meeting Wednesday night.
The issue will come before the board in the wake of multiple school shootings around the country in recent years, most recently, in May, where 19 students and two teachers were gunned down.
At a board meeting two weeks ago, superintendent Dr. Vito D’Elia outlined a proposal for armed security who would remain outside the school buildings except in an emergency. He said the possibiility of armed guards, who would carry concealed weapons, was part of a larger security plan that included the addition of so-called mantraps, or closed vestibules where anyone wanting to enter a school would have to be buzzed in.
D’Elia said he spoke both as a parent and as a superintendent, and asked, “How can we make South Huntington safer place?” He said that having armed security on the grounds would speed a response to an incident. “One thing that’s very important is the the average time to respond; armed security can challenge in the first 15 seconds.”
Board of Education president Nick Ciappetta said of armed guards, “They are a physical deterrent.”
Ciappetta said that if the board were to approve armed guards, they would be former or current law enforcement officers.
“It’s a reality we have to deal with. It’s one step, one tool if the board decides to do it. We can expect school shootings,” he said, quoting from an Education Week article about the number of school shootings in the country.
The possibility of armed guards is one of several security efforts schools have made. Several districts, including South Huntington, have partnered with Northwell Health to help studens with mental health issues. Schools have also mandated locking all doors, and tightened scrutiny of visitors.
The board will meet at 7:30 p.m. at Walt Whitman High School.