Pelham schools continue security training, add police patrols; parent questions vaping, fire alarm


Two Pelham School District administrators briefed the Board of Education Tuesday on safety in the schools, including current work and goals.

Goals include training staff in CPR and operating automated external defibrillators (AED), as well as active shooter training. Ralph DeMasi, director of security, assured the board of the soundness of safety procedures in case of any sort of event. James Hricay, the assistant superintendent for business, also participated in the presentation.

Also discussed was cooperation with the Pelham police departments on drills and real situations. This included the new daily walk-through an officer does at each school, which, it was said, helps them to better understand the layout of schools as well as connecting them with students outside of emergency situations.

DeMasi said that at least one officer has been present for all of the lockdown drills performed this year.

Future security updates include covering all points of entry into buildings with exterior cameras and a plan for reunification after an event.

In addition, the DARE anti-drinking and anti-drug program will be reintroduced at Siwanoy and Prospect Hill schools sometime in February 2019.

Parent concern about e-cigarettes

A concerned parent came forward with questions about the increased use of e-cigarettes in school, particularly after the smoke alarm was triggered in the high school, as well as the policy for students found in the presence of others using e-cigarettes.

“We don’t have anything that speaks specifically to that question,” said Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ, regarding students who are near others using e-cigarettes. She added that the e-cigarette policy continues to change.

Champ told the parent that the district is fighting an ongoing battle against vaping and e-cigarette use.

“The fact that the students know this is a significant concern, I think is an important message,” said Champ. The board discussed briefly the possibility of using sensors to detect e-cigarette smoke in bathrooms, but nothing was finalized.