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Greeters to Be Added to Milford Elementary Schools

The safety measure was discussed during the Budget Workshop Tuesday night, during which the Board of Ed approved a 2.29% Milford Schools budget increase.

 

Board of Education Chairwoman Tracy Casey began the Board of Education Budget Workshop Tuesday night by reminding those in attendance about the realities of school budgets.

"We use last year's budget and we use forecasting," Casey said. "But it's not in any way a static document. We can't anticipate how many snow days we'll have." Casey went on to note that many of the budget figures were based on enrollment estimates that could change.

Milford Schools Security

One of the first issues that Chairwoman Casey touched on Tuesday night was safety in Milford Schools.

While the question of School Resource Officers will be addressed in the Mayor's budget, Milford Public Schools have set aside $131,000 to put one Greeter at each elementary school.

The Greeter would be at each elementary school every day and become part of the fabric of the school. They would be unarmed and paid between $14,000-$15,000 each school year.

Chairperson Casey noted that she spoke with Milford Police Chief Keith Mello to find out what he thought about adding a Greeter to each of the eight elementary schools in Milford.

"Our police department are the experts on security," Casey said, noting that a School Safety Work Committee was being re-established.

As Chairperson Casey explained it, she called Chief Mello and said, "Should greeters be greeters like they've been presented? Should they be employees? Should they be volunteers? Should they be security? Or Chief Mello, should it be a policeman?"

Casey noted that Chief Mello believed that having paid Greeter employees was the right course of action. "He felt very strongly that we did not need police in our elementary school," Casey added.

The Final Numbers

The Board of Education was able to cut an additional $27,025 than had originally been expected. The budget for the 2013-2014 school year will be $88.8 million, an increase of 2.29%. 

RONALD M GOLDWYN January 23, 2013 at 02:29 PM
So instead of rehiring security guards, we will have "doormen or women". Just what is their duty? to push a button to let visitors and students into a single point of entry? These greeters will be doing what? Placing themselves as the first target should someone in the future arrive with the intention of shooting up the school. My personal feeling is that it is a placebo and a waste of money. It solves nothing for the middle and high schools where the problem may be internal and not external. BOE please keep searching for a better solution.
Larissa Watt January 23, 2013 at 04:37 PM
@Ron, the high schools already have a security post at the entrances. I am not sure whether they are armed or not..
Larissa Watt January 23, 2013 at 04:38 PM
I agree Ron..a "greeter" is a nice added touch to the schools but does nothing as far as security goes in my opinion..
John Pasnau January 23, 2013 at 04:41 PM
Solution to what Ron? A statically nonexistent problem? Over reaction with public funds seems to be the theme of the 21st century. It's bad leadership and bad government. I think the schools could use $131,000 of public money in better ways than this.
JE January 23, 2013 at 05:11 PM
I think it was made pretty clear these positions are not meant to be security in nature. And the high schools do have two security guards each, unarmed.
Concerned Parent January 23, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Although I commend the Superintendent in her attempt to implement a solution to help address an existing security gap in our schools, unfortunately it will not prevent a repeat of what happened in December. Despite what some people may choose to accept.
Raymond Dayton January 23, 2013 at 08:23 PM
The same Boards of Education that ignore and refuse to tell you your child is being bullied in school or otherwise being victimized and invariably do nothing about it unless they are forced to, certainly do not want a Police Officer they do not control on the premises noticing that and other curious things that go on there and taking action on their own. The schools think they should be allowed to operate like an autonomous sovereign nation. Just send money, then butt out. And are they serious? A "Greeter" ? Why not just hire another library assistant. Just as useless as a security measure, but at least the $14K would not be totally down the rat hole. And it is utterly unconscionable to set up an individual to be no more than your sacrificial lamb if the unthinkable does happen. This poor soul will be the first to go up against it, giving the office staff that precious extra few seconds to dive under their desk, and the kids are on their own with no protection. Brilliant, just brilliant.
Larissa Watt January 23, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Raymond, I would like to hear more about the bullying issue b/c Milford has a zero tolerance policy that I sincerely feel they enforce..so if you can give an example maybe I can help..no child should have to endure bullying..
Larissa Watt January 23, 2013 at 08:44 PM
~~Statistically nonexistent John?~~ Of course if you put it that way, I am sure the percentage of children who die by mass shootings at school compared to the population is low but administration still has to do their best to prevent another tragedy from occurring. No parent wants to worry about their child being another "statistic" at the hands of a madman. And overuse of public funds? There should be UNLIMITED funds for children..
Concerned Parent January 24, 2013 at 02:02 PM
@Raymond, my child experienced an incident in school and I was not satisfied with how it was addressed, however, it's a bit cavalier of you to try to shift the focus off this particular issue.
Concerned Parent January 24, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Here's an ugly fact that not many people may want to accept. The capability exists if a person, whether mentally ill or not, has it in their mind to do a repeat of Sandy Hook. A physical deterrent such as a "Greeter" will not prevent it from happening I'm sorry to say. That's why it's referred to as a "deterrent". It's not a preventive solution. This is only a patch to address an immediate need.
RADmom January 24, 2013 at 03:40 PM
This is a shameful waste of MBOE money!!! As an Paraprofessional who is one of the lowest paid employees of the system; I am insulted that this salary is not much higher than that of a full-time employee who works with the children on a daily basis with a variety of special needs. We care for these children, love them like our own, assist teachers in the classroom and we need to spend $131,000 on this? I am sure there would be retired veterans, or from other industries who may like to volunteer their time to the schools and be around our children. Perhaps we can explore this?
Rich Enders January 24, 2013 at 04:10 PM
I can open the door myself when I go to pick up my kids. What's the purpose? Really! It's inferred that a Greeter would be some form of deterrent...maybe the Board of Ed should do a few test dry-runs in partnership with the Milford Police Dept. to see if a Greeter could actually fulfill a preventative role. I'm pretty sure we know what the outcome would be.
JE January 24, 2013 at 05:40 PM
You miss the point completely. Not intended the person will be a valet but will be there to help keep track of who is in the building at all times and what the purpose is for the visit. To make sure they sign in and out, wear a vistor's badge, etc. You can go to the board of ed website under budget materials and read the narrative of Dr. Feser's explanation. These are very necessary tasks that right now fall to the one secretary in each elementary school on top of the dozens of other things she must also attend to. One can divide her attention in only a limited number of ways. There is a greater chance that someone will be buzzed in and disappear down the hall without signing in when you have one person managing that task while she is doing several other things at the same time. This isn't just about avoiding another shooting. It's about setting the tone that we know who is in our schools at all times. I bet there are dozens of protection orders in force across the district due to custody disputes, etc that would be a concern to some parents. This is another example of where a greeter will help. And if you read the article, Chief Mello thinks the position is a good idea.
JE January 24, 2013 at 05:50 PM
I agree with you 100% on the capability of a repeat if someone is intent enough on doing damage. But where do you see any mention of this position being a deterrent? I do not see that mentioned anywhere in the article nor that it's meant to be preventive. Personally, I see it as a layer of school operations where the school system is making sure they have an accounting of who is in the buildings at all times. I think that's a good thing. Certainly if there were some catastophic occurance (it could be a fire, not a shooting) it's important to know exactly who is in the building.
RONALD M GOLDWYN January 24, 2013 at 06:51 PM
JE, I don't think we have missed the boat. The purpose of this discussion was to make the students safe against a deranged person set on shooting up the elementary schools. As far as the secondary schools, the problem can be internal as well as external. Last night I spoke to one of our MFD Police Lt.s who informed me that every classroom door is now lockable and teachers are trained in the action they are to take in case of PA announcements. In addition the classrooms have a telephone. A tour of the Mfd Police HQs reveals that every room has a STEEL lockable door. Do you wonder why? The school administration, can always ask the PTA to provide the doorman service (Greeters) since their job would be limited to admit visitors and be the first line of defense against an armed intruder. When I was a kid in school, we students only had fire drills, Later we worried about an atomic bomb threat. When my son was in high school, a fire alarm was the signal to clean out your locker as it was a drug bust and search by the police. Has anything changed in the last 25 years? Yes we now lock the students into their classrooms, but the police are urging that there be a means of exiting the classroom to the outside if a special lockdown is sounded. Good fences make good neighbors, better to think along this line.
JE January 24, 2013 at 07:13 PM
The article is about items in the school budget. People and this paper have linked these greeters with security. Separately posted is what Dr. Feser says about the position in her budget introduction, specifically that the need addresses school culture and is not meant to be security in nature. There are many other things being done that specifically address security. So, yes, I do think people are missing the point of the positions.
JE January 24, 2013 at 07:17 PM
From Dr. Feser, edited for length: "When we talk about school culture, there are multiple criteria used to measure its strength, but culture begins immediately upon entering the school door. .. elementary schools are in need of a person to greet and sign in visitors as they enter the building. ... we are proposing the creation of a Greeter position at each of the elementary schools. ... person would admit visitors into the building, sign them in, and assist them in their purpose for coming into the school. The elementary schools have one secretary who is responsible for letting visitors into the building. Often she is multi-tasking with telephone calls, addressing the needs of a staff member, and assisting the principal with work. Overseeing visitors to the building becomes difficult. We envision the Greeter as a person who will connect with parents, children, community members and other visitors as they arrive to the school. He or she would work at a desk/counter located between the school’s front door and the main office admitting, signing in and issuing visitor badges to visitors, and promoting positive community relations through positive interactions with all stakeholders. This person could also assist with the student absentee process, calling absentee children’s homes, and with late arrival and early dismissal. They could also help with volunteers in the building. The Greeters would have no school formal security responsibilities throughout the building."
Concerned Parent January 24, 2013 at 07:53 PM
@JE...Basically by having a physical presence on premise, whether referred to as a greeter or otherwise, is simply a visual deterrent. This is NOT a preventative solution but just an interim patch.
Concerned Parent January 24, 2013 at 07:58 PM
@Ron, its interesting you use a term like "fences" to make your point. Fences inhibit access, where greeters do not. Schools face the same risk, despite havin a greeter, of someone accessing the facility with the intent to harm. People fail to remember Columbine where the shooter was a student.
Larissa Watt January 24, 2013 at 08:48 PM
After reading Dr. Feser's explanation of the greeter's I think it's a great idea..I misunderstood and thought it was in some way replacing security..
Larissa Watt January 24, 2013 at 08:50 PM
@JE, Thanks for sharing..
Rich Enders January 24, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Taking that responsibility from the Secretary's is a great idea. Thank you JE for posting Dr. Feser's dialogue. It certainly would have been helpful to read that with the article. I do however think it's very easy to infer that the Greeter would have some role in security. Chief Mello was asked his opinion and if you read the presentation from Dr. Feser, costs for Security Upgrades and the Greeters are grouped together.
RONALD M GOLDWYN February 01, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Ed Fences work in both directions, it keeps people out as well as in. A locked door prevents entry by the unauthorized and may allow students to exit by a secondary means as suggested by the Milford Police Dept. Right now the Police say that every elementary school classroom is lockable, but I would spend the money to provide steel doors and bucks so that they are bulletproof as well, thereby making entry much harder. I would also make all locks lockable from a central point so that an intruder is limited to the halls only. My thinking point is that a greeter serves only honest civilians, to a deranged person arriving with guns, be it a student or an outsider, the greeter will only be the first victim of a greater incident. Glass or wood doors are no hardship to a gunman intent on killing people at the school. Steel doors as are found at police HQ may restrict entry. Elementary schools are not likely to have a student shoot up the school, but in the secondary schools, such is a possibility and that requires a different solution. Right now we are seeking to make the elementary schools safe.

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