Monday, September 17, 2018

Town Hall Meeting

   On Monday-17-September the Bogota Board of Education held a Town Hall meeting in Speary Gym to listen to the Parents of the Students who are enrolled in the Public School System.  The topic of this meeting was to talk about securing in all three  of the public schools in Bogota.  The meeting was opened with a statement from Bogota Police Chief Daniel Maye. Chief Maye explained three types of security option that are most commonly use in schools around the country.  One was to hire a private security firm to patrol the buildings.  Next was to hire Law Enforcement Security Officer class 3  (LESO-3). And the third was to hire a School Resource Officer (SRO). Chief Maye made it clear that hiring a private firm was the least desirable option, because a private company would not be required to work directly with the Bogota Police Dept. Superintendent  Damien  Kennedy interjected at this time saying hiring a private was briefly discussed , but not seriously considered. The next option was the the hiring of a LESO -3  for each school. These would be former Police Offices that had been retire for at least three years. Anyone accepted for this position would be hired by the Board of Education, but would need to go through a background check and training under the authority of the Bogota Police. LESO-3 would be on duty during regular school hours for the length of the school year. Each  LESO-3 would be under a one year contract and evaluated at the end of the school year.  The third option is the SRO. This would be an officer currently on the job with the Bogota Police Dept and would then be reassigned to be in a school building full time.  An SRO would also be available to be in the school building after hours for extracurricular activities such as Concerts or Sporting Events. LESO-3 and SRO would be dressed in a casual attire ( polo shirt & khaki pants) and would carry a sidearm. These officer would instructed not to perform arrests, but to manage a situation until a uniform officer arrives.  
    Chief Maye's continued in saying that the choice of an SRO is favored because in a small town like Bogota the Police Officers are known to both the Students and their Parent which would allow for a greater level of trust on both sides. He also said that any SRO coming from his department would have time serving as an instructor at the Bogota Emergency Services Youth  Academy ( BPESYA). Chief Maye said this is a unique situation to Bogota because so many of the Student will be familiar to the officer which could give the SRO a chance to notice anything out of the ordinary  and act accordingly.
   When the floor was open to the Public almost two dozen speakers of the close to 100 people in attendance, took the opportunity do address the Board. This ranged for Parents of current, and Alumni, Students of Bogota Schools. A few Citizens would did not have Children in the Public also talk to the Board. A few Teachers some working in Bogota as well as other district spoke. Elected Officials from the Bogota Borough Council including Mayor Chris Kelemen had a chance to voice their thoughts. As well as a couple of current Students of Bogota High School took their turn to address the Board. Many of the speaker first thanked  Chief Maye, the Bogota Police Dept. and the Board of Education for their quick response to an Internet threat made to another School ( in Georgia) whose initials are also BHS.   The overwhelming response was support for armed officers in the schools. And, if possible, as many SRO that the budget will allow. If the Board of Education chooses to hire one or more SRO's there is a agreement that half the cost of  the SRO would taken up by the Borough, with the BoE accounting for the other half of the Officers salary. The speakers talked about how Bogota  Police are more than just Uniform Officers but they are a part of the Borough. Again citing the work BPESYA has done over the passed seven years with the Students would allow for a more open lines of communication, not only as a one on one, but could allow a one Student to talk to the SRO in confident if the needs arrives. 
   When the Members of the Board had their chance to respond to the  Audience they first thanked all the Parents who took the time to listen and talk to the Board. Many on the Board said they are also in favor of an armed officer, either a SRO or a LESO-3 or a combination of the two. They are optimistic that Superintendent  Kennedy will soon make that type of recommendation to the Board.  Board Trustee Amanda Montgomery added that some physical additional  could be added to the buildings. "Trap Zones" to the entrances which would limit an intruders access to the rest of the building. Locking mechanism on each classroom door, to prevent them from being forcefully opened, along with  a coating on the door window that could add a second layer of protection from gun shots. The Trustee Jackie DeVore said that she is personal against arm officers in side the schools themselves. She added that she understood the support shown for hiring of a SRO or LESO-3. She continued by saying that just an armed guard will not solve every problem, but with proper funding of trained specialist that can spot and and offer assistance to any Student that may be subject to act dangerously.  Finally Board President Lisa Kohles again thank all of those in attendance , and then thanked Mayor Kelemen for the support of the Borough Government in working together to increase the safety of both the schools and the Borough. She urged everyone at this meeting to come to the next Board of Education meeting on Tuesday-25-September, or to email any one of the Board of Education if they have any question.
   At this meeting there was a survey available to fill out. A copy of this survey is available  below to download and fill out. A completed survey maybe be emailed to  Superintendent  Kennedy at  The next Board of Education meeting will be on  Tuesday-25-September. This will be held in the Bogota High School Cafeteria. The meeting is schedule to start at 7:00p . This is open to the public. The Cafeteria is located on the second floor of 2 Henry Luthin Pl. Bogota. NJ

                   (it is asked that while attending this event you  inform them that you saw it on Bogota Blog NJ)

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Survey that can  be downloaded, filled out and sent to Superintendent Kennedy at: 

Bogota Police Chief Daniel Maye
 Superintendent  Damien  Kennedy (C)

Rob Robbins

Councilman Frank Miranda

Tania Feliz-Patron

Rich Carrion

Councilwoman Daniele Fede

John Sterling

Bogota Mayor Chris Kelemen

Rey Sanchez
( To help  support Bogota Blog NJ with it's coverage of Local stories & sports

 please contribute  at: donate to Bogota Blog NJ )   

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