Principals, assistant principals and front office staff from each of the 10 Westfield public schools attended security training Wednesday in preparation for the new school year.
Similar training is planned for teachers, according to Westfield schools' spokesperson Lorre Korecky.
Conducted by the district’s security consultant, the purpose of the training was “to provide Westfield Public School front office staff with concepts and ideas for maintaining a secure and safe environment, and for improving observation, detection and reporting skills,” explained Michael Weissman, Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services and Lead Coordinator of the district’s Emergency Preparedness Committee.
Procedures for dealing with various emergencies and implementing the appropriate responses, including lockdowns, were discussed. Attendees also were reminded to be aware of suspicious behavior and remain vigilant when visitors request entry into the buildings.
“The safety of our students and staff is of primary importance, and learning techniques and responses through these training sessions is a valuable part of our school security program,” added Margaret Dolan, Superintendent of Schools, who also was in attendance.
In June, the Westfield Board of Education voted 7-2 to reinstate the school resource officer position for the 2013-14 school year. The position, with a salary of $100,000 to be split equally by the school district and the Town of Westfield, is one that had been in the district for a decade but was eliminated more than five years ago due to budget cuts. Board members spoke of the value of what they describe as a "multi-faceted" position, one that includes security, while fostering positive relationships between students, staff and law enforcement. Patch has requested an interview with the school resource officer. Check back for more information.