Silver Creek residents voice concerns on school safety

SILVER CREEK – It has been almost a month since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., and some parents in Silver Creek worry as time passes it will be forgotten.

Several parents and residents attended the Silver Creek Board of Education meeting Wednesday to voice concerns about safety in the school.

“This is the first board meeting since the Sandy Hook shooting and I came to express concern for the safety at the school. I want to be reassured the safety policies the school has will and are being enforced,” concerned parent Tina Farley said. “If they didn’t think it could happen there, it could happen here. I have a 12 year old and a 7 year old in the district and after that it was hard to bring my kids back to school.”

Farley said when she went to the elementary orientation for her son she thought some of the safety measures would be “a pain,” but after the tragedy she supports the school’s efforts 100 percent.

However, she pointed out several instances that she has had concerns about including the doors being propped open when gym classes go outside, passersby will let in people waiting to be buzzed in if there is no one in the office and students entering school from a side door after school has started.

“The kids are our future and their safety should be our number one priority,” she added.

Superintendent Daniel Ljiljanich said one of the first things he did after he was hired in July was review and update the school’s safety plan. He said he encourages anyone who sees something and has a safety concern, like Farley, to point it out because sometimes it isn’t seen by others.

Also brought up in the conversation was the matter of the school resource officer.

Resident Anna Frederickson said she is continuing her quest to get funding from the four entities involved in the school to see that the SRO program is funded. She said she has reached out to Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder who said he will present the letters to the council for consideration.

Ljiljanich also reassured residents measures are being made to make the school safer, including recent changes to the safety plan as a result of a conference he attended with Silver Creek Police Chief Timothy Roche and New York State Troopers. Ljiljanich said other things the school is doing also include informing substitutes of emergency procedures with a packet and also capital project changes.

He said one of the changes in the high school will be to convert the superintendent’s office into the main office so that people can be greeted through a sliding glass window before entering the building. He said security cameras are also included in this, but reminded residents the cameras that are in place are connected to the police station for quick response if there are problems.

Ljiljanich said the school is also always looking at how to balance security and openness to the community after school.

The school board will meet for a budget workshop on Saturday at 8 a.m. The next school board meeting will be Jan. 23 with a workshop on technology, transportation and buildings and grounds budgets.