New Jersey school districts increase security in wake of Texas elementary school shooting
School districts across New Jersey increased security on Wednesday, despite no specific threat against any one particular district, because of the mass shooting that happened at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday.
It was an added sense of security to the many measures taken year-round at districts across the Garden State.
Even with an invitation for an interview with the Hoboken Schools superintendent, News 12 New Jersey crews still had to go through security to get inside one of the district’s schools.
“Reinforcing some of the safety measures that we do every single day, but just to let everyone know emotions were going to be somewhat raw today,” said Hoboken School Superintendent Dr. Christine Johnson.
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Entrances at Hoboken schools – like many schools in New Jersey – are buzzer-protected. No other doors are open during the school day. Hoboken also has a security guard at all its school buildings to ensure those who don’t belong do not get in. The city also has four specially trained school resource officers – city police officers who work closely with school administrators daily.
"Because we wanted that calm feeling. We want everyone to know that it’s safe here. We wanted those parents to certainly feel that message as soon as they were dropping their child off at the doorstep,” says School Safety Commander Lt. Melissa Gigante.
The district says it is more than physical safety. The district and police department work together on emotional and social safety as well. Superintendent Johnson calls it “preventative safety.”
“Both to provide support, but also to identify any potential triggers, any key messages that we may be missing in the classroom,” she says.
Every school district in New Jersey is required to have a school safety specialist. In Hoboken, it is a retired police officer. He works with the district and police on a required annual safety plan.