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Blind Brook Hires Safety Adviser, Keeps Cops On Campus

Blind Brook Superintendent William Stark at a recent Board of Education meeting. The District has hired Altaris Consulting Group to provide a safety audit of both campuses.
Blind Brook Superintendent William Stark at a recent Board of Education meeting. The District has hired Altaris Consulting Group to provide a safety audit of both campuses. Photo Credit: Anna Helhoski

RYE BROOK, N.Y. – In addition to increasing security at Blind Brook schools following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the district has hired a consulting group to conduct a safety audit, Superintendent William Stark said.

Police presence will remain heightened at both Blind Brook campuses on King Street in Rye Brook. “The duration of police presence will remain under review pending the safety and security audit,” Stark wrote in a recent letter to parents.

The district hired Altaris Consulting Group to provide a full-scale safety and security audit of physical and personnel requirements, as well as a review of all safety plans in place.

While Stark would not go into specifics, he said, “Each campus has taken a number of steps to strengthen security, including heightened surveillance of buildings and grounds, as well as changes in protocols for admission to our buildings during and after the regular school day.”

Because of the expected significant cost associated with the audit, Stark postponed the release of his proposed 2013-2014 budget from Feb. 11 to Feb. 25 to allow time to integrate results of the audit, expected a month from now, school board President Glen Schuster said at the most recent Board of Education meeting.

The consulting group has already met with each building principal; Stark; Jonathan Ross, assistant superintendent of finance and facilities and district clerk; Rye Brook Police Chief Greg Austen and Lt. Eugene Matthews; and members of the Board of Education.

Late last month, Stark reached out to parents for recommendations and asked them to share expertise with the district on safety.

Four parent representatives volunteered to provide expert feedback on security and mental health in the district. They are Peter Faustino, past president of the American School Psychologists Association; Detective Walter Lynch; security consultant Joseph Biondo; and Dr. Kevin Chason, a physician and emergency management specialist.

Stark asked anyone who has concerns or recommendations for making each school more secure to continue to reach out to the district. To contact Stark, email wstark@blindbrook.org or call 914-937-3600, ext. 3022.

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