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Resident Questions Source of Anonymous 'Secure Westfield' Letter

Committee seeks members to review school security and safety.

A Westfield resident contacted Patch about the following letter which was emailed on Friday afternoon from a group identifying itself only as 'Parents of Westfield.'

Secure Westfield for our children
Make a difference help Secure Westfield for our children!
Committee to Review School Security & Safety

Dear Parents,

It is our understanding that it is the responsibility of the Board of Education to implement an Emergency & Crisis Management plan. This plan is to focus on assuring that the school community is fully organized and equipped to respond during a sudden loss event or other tragedy. It should outline procedures and mechanisms for responding to emergencies and crises, defining roles for building staff, & establish parameters for training and development. 

We hope that you are enjoying the Holiday Season and understand how busy everyone is during this time of year. Although, due to the recent events that took place in Connecticut we feel that certain steps need to be taken immediately to ensure that our children are provided a safe school environment which remains conducive to learning.

Our intention is to develop a committee which will review the Emergency & Crisis Management plans that have been implemented for all Westfield schools. Objectives will include, fully understanding and making sure the BoE is getting the necessary support and input from all the agencies so that it can make the best decisions regarding the schools and our children's safety. Collectively develop a proposal which outlines all questions, issues & suggest improvement recommendations regarding the existing plans in an effort to harden the current safety and security protocols. This proposal will go directly to the BoE, Township & State Officials, and Local Law Enforcement to ensure that it is addressed. 
We also understand that to implement changes funding may be necessary, and as a committee we may want to recommend, through support from trained professionals, some reallocation of funds from the $13,000,000 roof replacement for better security measures at our schools if necessary.
We are looking to be included in the potential changes that will affect our children and future children. Email us if you are interested in being part of the process as we have established and email address securewestfield@gmail.comto help organize this effort. Feel free to forward this email to a friend or join our mailing list for future updates. 
Thank you and have a great holiday.
Parents of Westfield 

The resident who contacted Patch said they found it odd that not all parents in the school district had received the email. The resident also found it troubling that the letter is not signed by a person or persons.

The 'Secure Westfield' email was sent shortly after it was announced Friday that all township schools in Marlboro, NJ will have armed officers present throughout school days. The resident who received the email wrote back to the group asking if its position is "pro guns in schools" and if so, suggested that the group make that known.

Board of Education President Richard Mattessich said he does not know who is behind the letter but said, "A few people have sent this to me asking the same question. I can’t for the life of me understand why any group would undertake an anonymous security campaign. I know that both the Town and the BOE are happy to consider all suggestions. But we won’t be discussing security with an anonymous source."

Friday evening, the Board of Education, together with Westfield Schools Superintendent and Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky, sent an update to parents regarding school safety.  

Patch sent an email Saturday, Dec. 22 to the address listed in the letter asking the group to outline some of its ideas and to inquire if the committee plans to speak at the Jan. 3 Board of Education meeting.

Patch also asked if the group believes the current plans, as set forth in the message sent to parents from the Town of Westfield, BOE and Dolan mentioned above, are insufficient, and if so, what suggestions does the group intend to propose.

As of 11 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 26, Patch had not received a response to those questions nor had the resident who received the initial email gotten a reply to their inquiry.

Pete December 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM
hahaha. Reallocate money from the roof bond? Here's a clue: it's called a "roof" bond for a reason. If you want the feeling of extra security, put your hand in your own pocket. Here's a thought: I want armed police on every train and subway - are the Secure Westfield nuts going to pay for that for me? Is it April 1st already?
Travis Hudelson December 27, 2012 at 01:03 PM
If this letter wasn't submitted either directly or indirectly by the NRA I'd be amazed. We do not need the marketing arm of the firearms industry involved in the decisions we make for our children.
Gary McCready December 28, 2012 at 02:35 PM
The "letter" is just another cowardly attempt to install fear into our society. Fear can be a wonderful tool to drive an agenda... The Westfield schools have had security plans and all sorts of drills, including lockdown drills, for years. If this was a valid concern the person submitting the letter can come forward to organize the group in the open. However, don't expect to be told all the plans and preparations the schools and police have in place - some are kept undisclosed to the public for a reason.

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