Commack School District Superintendent Donald James sent a message to parents Friday evening stating that an unknown man was loitering at North Ridge Primary School earlier in the week.
The man, who James described as a white male, approximately 35 to 40 years old with salt and pepper hair, was "milling about" outside of the school during dismissal.
The police were notified of the situation, and extra security officers were stationed at North Ridge.
Starting Monday, additional security officers will be assigned to all elementary schools in the district.
Here is the letter in full:
There was a report of an unidentified white male approximately 35 to 40 years old with salt and pepper hair milling around North Ridge Primary School during dismissal earlier in the week. From that point forward, additional security officers were assigned to the school and the police were contacted. Further, beginning Monday we are assigning additional security officers at each of our elementary schools. In addition, the police are vigorously investigating this incident.
Please be assured that we are taking any and all steps necessary in an effort to insure the safety of all students and staff including but not limited to the following:
- Additional security staff will be/have been assigned at each school particularly during arrival and dismissal times;
- Staff will be notified via memoranda and/or specifically designed staff meetings to review and reinforce proper security protocol(s) including:
o The need to keep exterior doors locked at all times; and
o The need to insure that all persons entering any district buildings must produce proper identification and a legitimate reason to enter the building.
Please be assured that the above procedures are currently in place at each of our schools. However, given the circumstances, I am asking each principal and/or department head to reinforce the above and to be ever diligent with security.
Given the circumstances, I am asking you to review safety guidelines with your children. It’s important that you reinforce some of the basics to help keep them safe when they’re not under the direct supervision of an adult. Below is a list for your consideration:
- When walking to and from school or in the community, especially at night, walk with a friend whenever possible;
- Wear white or light colored clothing at night to increase visibility;
- If your child has a cell phone, make sure it’s charged before he/she leaves the house, and know where your child will be at all times;
- Remind your children to call 911 in case of any emergency or if an unsafe situation occurs;
- When children are at home alone, doors should be locked at all times;
- Talk to your children and offer them advice and guidance on how to handle confrontations. (For example, run from/do not speak to strangers, and other safety-related topics.)
While you may get an “I know all that!” response, it helps to talk things out — just in case. You can even do some role playing to lighten up the conversation.
Know that the District’s main concern is the safety of our students and I will do everything in my power to assure their safety at all times. Should you encounter any suspicious persons on school grounds or anyplace else please contact the police immediately.
Donald A. James
Superintendent of Schools