New security in Holley schools
Posted at: 03/05/2013 5:23 PM
| Updated at: 03/06/2013 5:59 PM
By: Ray Levato | WHEC.com
The Holley School District may be the first school district in our area to have private security officers in each of its schools.
The superintendent in Holley says he will not put a price on the value of human life.
Holley has two security officers from the start of school to dismissal, one in the elementary building and one in the middle and high school.
Then two other officers take the second shift for night time school activities.
Steve Mullen retired from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office after 22 years of service. Now, he works for Rochester-based cop security and this week began his new job as a security officer at Holley Elementary School.
Steve Mullen said, “We're able to provide eyes and ears and a sense of awareness for the school district and for the community so that the teachers can focus on teaching and students can focus on learning.”
That includes interacting with students and staff. Holley School Superintendent Robert D'Angelo says this decision came after long thought and is not directly related to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in December.
News10NBC's Ray Levato said, “These security officers are going to be unarmed. So how does that make the schools safer?”
Robert D' Angelo, Holley School Superintendent, said, “At this point, this is where we find ourselves, with unarmed security guards. We will continue to assess the situation. We believe their presence and the relationship they are eager to establish with students, staff and community, that will create a safer environment in the schools.”
At Sam's Diner in the village of Holley, people generally support the idea to have security guards in the schools.
Kathy Lutz said, “If it keeps the kids in school safe, what more could you ask for. You've got to pay for it.”
Janet Brodesser said, “Well, children need to learn to work with the police. If that's an educational thing for them, then it doesn't bother me any. But if all they're doing is standing by the doorway and saying hi and bye, i think it's a huge waste of money.”
D'Angelo said, “They are very eager and we intend to use them to go into the classroom and speak to kids about issues related to safety and issues related to kids.”
The C.O.P Security Firm employs experienced security guards and retired military and law enforcement officers. Some of them are former D.A.R.E officers who have experience working with kids in schools. Part of their mission in Holley is to maintain order in the schools and work with students on topics like bullying among others.
Holley says the cost is about $130-thousand a year for this. The superintendent says he has not ruled out having them armed in the future.
The school district did consider bringing in the Orleans County Sheriff's Office for security and chose the private security firm because of cost and the manpower required. The sheriff's office could only commit one deputy for both schools and probably not at night.
Statement from the Monroe County School Boards Association:
"We are not aware of any schools contracting with private security firms. School safety work is more complicated than simply providing security guards because the safety officers have to know how to get along with students and must be people who the students will trust. Relationships are an important part of this work.
We believe most districts employ their own people, quite often retired police officers, to head up their security operations. A lot of attention goes into school safety and the local school safety/security directors from the region's school districts have their own professional association where they share ideas and information."