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Email: gscschools@gmail.com
Phone: 609-394-2828 (office)
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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
160 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608


1-4-13 Determining Priorities: School Security
New Jersey School Boards Association Presents Forum on ‘Safe And Secure Schools’ Jan. 18

Star Ledger - Marlboro is first N.J. district to place armed guards at schools

Star Ledger - Union City Board of Commissioners votes to put armed school resource officers in five city schools



Last month's tragic incident in Newtown, Connecticut, requires school districts to reassess security measures.


The January 18 forum, Safe and Secure Schools: Perspectives after Newtown, will begin with a keynote address by Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D, of Rutgers University, a nationally recognized expert in behavioral psychology, and will include panel discussions on Safety and Security at the School Building Level and State School Security Procedures and Requirements.

We encourage you to register and bring school district staff, parents and other concerned members of your school community to this informative event.

Keynote Address:

The Essential Connection between a Safe and Secure School Climate and Students' Educational and Life Success

Keynote Speaker:

Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D.

Dr. Elias of Rutgers University is a nationally recognized expert in community and preventive psychology and school intervention. He serves as director of clinical training in the university's Department of Psychology; director of the Rutgers Social and Emotional Learning Laboratory, and director of the Collaborative, Rutgers' Center for Community-Based Research, Service, and Public Scholarship. For five years, he directed New Jersey's Developing Safe and Civil Schools Initiative, working with 250 schools statewide.

Panel Discussion I:

Looking Forward:State School Security Procedures and Requirements

  • Ronald Susswein, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, State of New Jersey
  • Anthony Bland, State Coordinator, Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning, NJ Department of Education
  • Raymond J. Hayducka, President, New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, Chief of Police, South Brunswick Twp.

Panel Discussion II:

Looking Forward: Safety and Security at the School Building Level

  • Dr. Christopher Manno, Chief Education Officer, Burlington Township Public Schools
  • Michael Wanko, Principal, Piscataway High School, and author of Safe Schools:Crisis Prevention and Response
  • Marty Kalbach, Director, New Jersey School Boards Association Insurance Group

Register Now This program is free, but pre-registration is required. Please complete the online registration form and indicate how many people you intend to bring with you.

We hope you can join us on January 18.



Star Ledger - Marlboro is first N.J. district to place armed guards at schools

By Jessica Calefati/The Star-LedgerThe Star-Ledger on January 02, 2013 at 5:19 PM, updated January 03, 2013


Marlboro— The armed police officers who began patrolling Asher Holmes Elementary and seven other schools in Marlboro today are giving parents like Lucian Nicolescu peace of mind.

"I’m in favor of this change. I feel safer sending my daughter to school knowing there are police there to protect her," said Nicolescu, whose 9-year-old attends Asher Holmes.

In the wake of last month’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six teachers were killed, Marlboro today became the first district in New Jersey to staff public schools with armed officers.

Superintendent David Abbott said he decided to place officers in the schools after township officials asked him to "ratchet up" school security in the district, which has an enrollment of about 5,300 students.

Previously, one of the district’s main security procedures involved retired police officers and parent volunteers using computer software to scan visitors’ drivers licenses. Abbott said that while 30 unauthorized visitors have been caught trying to enter school buildings, he believes the policy is insufficient in light of the Newtown shootings.

"We all asked ourselves, ‘what can we do right now to make sure our children are protected?" Abbott said. "Myself, the police chief, the mayor — we were not sure that what we had was enough to keep out schools safe."

Marlboro is not alone in trying to beef up school security. As students in Newtown return to the classroom today — albiet at a building seven miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School where last month’s shootings occurred — additional security measures, from the simple to the extreme, are being considered in schools throughout America.

In Tennessee, the Greeneville district will have a full-time police officer at each of its six schools, after having only an officer at the high school previously and another officer who roamed the other five schools.

In Utah, 200 teachers accepted an offer of free firearms training.

In Washington, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has called for federal funding to deploy National Guard troops to schools.

In New Jersey, other districts could begin to follow Marlboro’s lead, said Frank Belluscio, a spokesman for the New Jersey School Boards Association.

"We’re at a very criticial juncture right now in terms of additional steps we can take for school security," Belluscio said. "There will be different solution for every district. Armed guards on a trial basis may work for some schools, but the same path need not be taken everywhere.

For the next 90 days, armed, uniformed, off-duty Marlboro police officers will patrol the entrance of the township’s middle and elementary schools. During that period, town and district officials will reassess the plan, hold community meetings and adjust the plan accordingly, Abbott said.

The pilot program will cost the district about $100,000 in overtime pay for the police officers who patrol the schools.

Abbott said his plans have been in place since a Dec. 18 school board meeting held three days before the National Rifle Association proposed placing armed guards in schools nationwide, a plan that drew criticism from politicians across the country, including Gov. Chris Christie.

In the coming weeks, forums will be held across the state to study best practices in school safety in the wake of the shooting in Newtown. The New Jersey School Boards Association will gather experts from across the state and the nation for a discussion at the College of New Jersey, and the state Legislature is also expected to hold hearings.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said it’s up to the state’s lawmakers to devise a comprehensive solution that will keep students safe in schools across the state.

"If a community thinks putting armed police officers in its schools is the right thing to do, then they should do so, but what we really need is a comprehensive solution to the problems we face with gun and ammunition proliferation and mental health," said Oliver (D-Essex). "That’s a larger effort that falls on the Legislature, and devising a plan will be one of our goals in the weeks ahead."

Star Ledger - Union City Board of Commissioners votes to put armed school resource officers in five city schools

By Anthony J. Machcinski/The Jersey JournalThe Jersey Journal on January 02, 2013 at 10:13 PM, updated January 03,

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The Union City Board of Commissioners is hoping to make schools even safer in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings, voting tonight to place police officers in five city schools.

The vote passed 3-0, with Commissioners Maryury Martinetti and Lucio Fernandez recusing themselves.

The officers, known as school resource officers, would be in schools for security as well as to conduct seminars, Mayor Brian Stack said.

According to Stack, some of the officers would be at schools full time and they would be armed.

The officers will be placed in Union City High School, Jose Marti Freshman Academy and three other schools in the city.


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608

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