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Fort Lee Interim Super Assures Parents, Urges Cooperation After CT Shooting

Fort Lee police officers will be on patrol at local schools over the next several days, according to a Dr. Sharon Amato, who posted a letter on the school district’s website Saturday after the deadly shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

Fort Lee’s Interim Superintendent of Schools issued a statement on the school district’s website, assuring parents and members of the school community that schools officials and the Fort Lee Police Department are doing “everything possible to secure our buildings and protect our children” in light of the tragic events in Newtown, Conn. Friday, where a school shooting claimed the lives of 26 people, including 20 children.

“This is a harsh reminder of our vulnerability and a reminder that we must remain vigilant in safeguarding our children and staff,” Dr. Sharon Amato said in the statement.

The Fort Lee Police Department will have officers on patrol “both outside and inside our buildings” over the next several days, according to Amato, who also said principals will reinforce safety procedures with all students and staff members.

Amato also urged support from parents and guardians, asking that all visitors who absolutely must enter school buildings do so only through the main entrance and check in at the main office.

“We would like to limit the number of unnecessary visitations inside our buildings,” Amato said. “Any visitors who are neither parents nor guardians must request a visit in writing.”

Amato’s message appears in its entirety below:

Dear Members of the Fort Lee School Community,

In light of recent events in Newtown, Connecticut, I am certain that you share my deep sorrow and heartfelt condolences to the members of the Sandy Hook Elementary School community. This is a harsh reminder of our vulnerability and a reminder that we must remain vigilant in safeguarding our children and staff.

I would like to assure you that we are doing everything possible to secure our buildings and protect our children. The Fort Lee Police Department will deploy police officers to patrol both outside and inside our buildings in the coming days. In addition, the building principals will review safety procedures with all staff and students.

I would like to ask our parents and guardians to assist us as well. All visitors must enter through the main entrance and check in at the main office. Please cooperate as you may be denied entry if you do not present identification. We welcome our parents and guardians to participate in scheduled meetings and events; however we have an ongoing flow of visitors delivering forgotten items such as instruments and books. Only enter the building if absolutely necessary or if you have to conduct school business. We would like to limit the number of unnecessary visitations inside our buildings. Any visitors who are neither parents nor guardians must request a visit in writing.  Your cooperation is very much appreciated. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your building principal or me directly.

Sincerely,
Sharon Amato, Ed.D.
Interim Superintendent of Schools

Zachary David December 17, 2012 at 05:32 PM
The reaction of many school systems, like Fort Lee's, is understandable, and increased security is of some temporary comfort. However, as we now know, the perpetrator in Connecticut blasted his way into the school with an assault rifle. He was not let in by anyone in the school We can't have armed guards standing in front of every school all the time to deter the mentally unstable among us . There will always be mentally ill people capable of this kind of violence, and this country does not have the political will to ban the weapons that make mass murder feasible. There are too many people into his country who cannot be convinced that giving up the right to have this kind of weapon is the right thing to do. Sad but true.
Suzanne Troya December 17, 2012 at 11:21 PM
To the members of our town's City Council, the Mayor, and members of Fort Lee Public Schools, I have this suggestion: Is it possible, from now on to offer the citizens either of the following: A retired police officer, armed, inside each school on a full-time basis. From my estimate, the cost would be roughly $400,000 per year. This includes base salary, minimal benefits as not to interfere with pension. Another alternative, would be replacement of front entrance glass entrance in the elementary schools with bullet proof glass, and a parked police car placed at each school during periods when students are most visible,being arrival, recess, and end of the day. I believe my option for presence and bullet proof glass would be the least expensive, and asking each officer to be present during these times could be effective. I realize Fort Lee is a unique town, with an expanded school system, a large high school, and challenges to our police department are far greater than most boroughs. But I don't want our town's citizens and first responders to endure the terrible experience as those who did in Connecticut. I ask, who could I turn to, so that we can look further into implementing new measures in our town's safety. Thank you.
Suzanne Troya December 17, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Yes we can have an armed guard. We deserve it. We need to start expecting better from our governments at all levels. We may need to show Washington the example, we may need to rally to Washington. I am tired of sitting on the side lines and watching our country go to waste. I want members of our Congress and Senate to start owning up to their share of the deteriation. I want a ban on assault weapons. You want to own a gun, fine, but not assault weapons. Our Constitution did not include assault weapons that are favored by the derainged. I want our government to start accepting their share in high insurance premiums when the mentally ill can not afford the counseling they need (to make us all safer), and I want those in Washington to start working for their money! I am tired of a 5 year long recession, higher taxes, and the working class in movie theaters, schools, and malls are burying their kids. Washington isn't paying for their funerals!!!! I will start local. I want Fort Lee to do something not only to protect the children, but the teachers, the staff as well!
Tracy December 17, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Anyone know why the BOE meeting was cancelled? (it was cancelled before this horrible tragedy)
Art Elmers December 17, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Tracy, I noticed the cancellation earlier today. I assumed it was due to Sandy Hook. I think this means that the new BOE will be seated before any actions can take place.

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