Saugerties school officials hold forum on school safety
William J. Kemble is reporting for the Daily Freeman approximately 70 people turned out March 6, for a 90-minute forum on school safety presented by the Saugerties Board of Education. The event was held in the aftermath of the mass shootings in Parkland, Fla. and local threats from an apparently well-armed student. Participants were asked to provide their perceptions of the current strengths of school security and safety. Kemble reports that student themes were based on observations from daily activity, while parents tended toward more fear-based concerns rooted in not knowing what is actually happening in the schools. Students consistently asked for clear information from adults about what to do during drills, and expressed deep concern that there have not been enough drills during lunch periods. Parents of elementary students were focused on the shootings that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in 2012, saying they want a strong presence in the buildings to avoid a repeat of that tragedy. Several in attendance said they were troubled by officials' refusal to discuss the recent arrest of an 18-year-old Saugerties High School senior, who along with his father, were charged with criminal possession of a weapon after the teen expressed extreme rage and an admiration for school shooters in social media posts. School officials said they will review the comments and prioritize needs, with attention paid to which items can be addressed during the current budget development process. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.