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Parents Concerned with Students' Safety in N. Babylon

Concerns voiced at North Babylon School Board meeting.

Just over a month since the brutal massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, parents in the North Babylon School District remained concerned with their childrens' safety while at school.

Several parents spoke at the North Babylon School Board meeting on Thursday evening, raising several concerns, especially issues from earlier in the school year such as broken windows and beer bottles at Parliament Place Elementary School.

The school district's administration will be working with the technology administrators on ways to enhance digital security around the buildings, Superintendent Patricia Godek said on Thursday evening.

"We're working to address concerns with the perimeters of the school grounds," Godek noted. In addition, the district has hired security guards to protect the grounds of each building from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Parents, especially those from the Parliament Place Elementary School, still raised concerns during the meeting.

"Security over there has gotten out of control," said Susan Velez, whose daughter attends the school. "We have playgrounds that are vandalized, teachers calling 9-1-1 because of the people hanging around the area and people cutting across the property during school hours to get to the shopping center. I just want to know what's going to be done."

"We started this discussion several board meetings ago," noted Godek, who said the board was sensitive to the parents' concerns. "We evaluated the situation and brought the plan to bring security cameras and lighting. We're working to address all of those... we can't fix it overnight, but we are working on it."

Another parent, Angela Bobrowski, raised concerns about the fencing that surrounds the elementary school and a shopping center nearby.

"The fence is no longer a valid deterrent," she said, presenting photos of a rusted, degraded fence, apparently maintained by the nearby shopping center.Bobrowski noted similar issues with the property, including residents walking across the school grounds while school is in session.

"My main concern is there is no perimeter security for the school," she said.

Godek noted the issue and said the district would continue to explore options on how to deal with the problems at the school, in addition to the steps taken already including increased security. The superintendent also asked parents to come to the budget meetings, as security would be brought up again as part of those discussions.

"We want to make it, in our security plan, that all of our schools and students are protected," Godek said. "We are working on making sure they are."

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