DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Education

February 21, 2013

Officials: School are safe but more can be done

There’s always room for improvement when it comes to keeping students safe, according to local school officials.

Londonderry voters will be asked to spend money March 12 to boost security in the town’s schools.

Concern about local school security was heightened after the shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December. School officials responded to residents’ questions with details about what is being done in the local schools.

Londonderry voters will decide whether to spend $101,000 for an additional police officer to serve as a school resource officer and also will choose whether to spend $170,000 for upgraded security systems in the district’s schools.

Right now, Londonderry has only one school resource officer.

Acting Town Manager and police Chief Bill Hart said Londonderry is doing everything right and adding another officer is one way to keep it that way.

“Sadly, it’s a reaction to the tragedy in Newtown,” he said. “We can do more with regard to security and we can do more in providing a police department that is visible in the schools.”

Video surveillance cameras are in place in Londonderry schools, and administration and staff are up to date on all emergency plans with local fire and police officials. Those plans are reviewed every year.

But some residents want more. A warrant article in Londonderry asks voters to spend $170,000 to upgrade security by adding a card access system and new door monitoring systems and sensors.

Some residents have said they would gladly pay more for the added security and peace of mind.

Tony Palma has four children in the district and would like to see another school resource officer in place.

“I don’t think anyone would mind the higher taxes (for that),” he said.

Derry school officials also reviewed their security measures. That includes keeping local police officers in classrooms and hallways. Officers regularly stop by the schools to spend time with children and watch over the day’s events.

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