North Bergen Superintendent of Schools Dr. George Solter has detailed the school district’s security apparatus in a recent announcement. The message follows the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that claimed the lives of 19 elementary school students and two teachers.
“It is with great sadness that we have to talk about another school shooting,” Solter said. “I hope each of you will keep all of the students, families, staff and the community of the Uvalde School District in your thoughts and prayers.”
According to Solter, the North Bergen School District is frequently working with the North Bergen Police Department and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office to ensure procedures are in place to protect students and staff.
Additionally, Director of Crisis Management and Security Steve Somick works with the New Jersey Department of Education Division of School Safety and the North Bergen Police Department as he directs the school security personnel in all of the buildings.
“We are constantly evaluating our procedures to make sure we provide for the safe operation of the schools,” he said. “We have safety drills each month with evacuation drills twice a year and the school administration is updated on the current directives.”
Safety measures in schools, superintendent says
In addition to the twice-yearly drills and updates to staff on safety directives, the local authorities have conducted drills as well, Solter said.
“The North Bergen Police Department and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office conduct active shooter drills in our buildings quite frequently when students are not in school,” he said. “We welcome their presence to help prepare us for any situation that may arise.”
On top of that, the drills and other directives, the district also has security cameras, metal detectors, and other safety measures in place across schools.
“Also, all of our schools have security cameras with monitoring stations in the school and at the North Bergen Board of Education office,” he said. “We conduct random wanding by handheld metal detectors and random bag checks during the school year.”
The district is also monitoring online activity for any threats.
“Additionally, we use a program called Linewize to monitor any unusual or threatening internet activity,” he said. “When an alert is detected the school administration conducts an investigation and, if the situation warrants action, we turn to the police or mental health professionals.”
Continued coordination with local law enforcement
Solter thanked all involved in the safety measures for their coordination: “I just want to thank the North Bergen Police, the security guards, the teaching staff, and the administrators for always working to make sure that each school is safe for the students.”
If you see something, say something, Solter reminded the community.
“We urge you to share any information that you come across that you feel may lead to an event. We take every alert seriously. Again everyone’s safety is our top priority. If you have any questions please contact my office or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
North Bergen is not alone in reminding the community of its security system in the wake of the most recent school massacre. Bayonne has done that as well as heightened security around its schools too, with Mayor James Davis calling on off-duty police officers to watch over the local school in their neighborhood during the morning arrival and afternoon departure times.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com.