Harrison Parents Pleased That Police Will Remain At Schools

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Concerned parents attend Thursday's Harrison Town Board meeting to discuss school safety. Photo Credit: Patrick Stapleton
Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini answers several questions from parents at the Thursday night Town Board meeting. Photo Credit: Patrick Stapleton

HARRISON, N.Y. – Harrison police officers will remain at all district schools until a new security plan is put into place by the town board, school board and police.

“School security is very important,” Mayor Ron Belmont said at Thursday’s Town Board meeting, which was attended by many parents. “Our schools have to be secure. Believe me, we are taking this very seriously.”

For a second consecutive board meeting, the main topic was the safety of Harrison students after the deadly school shootings last month in Newtown, Conn. Parents wanted a guarantee, which they received from Belmont and Police Chief Anthony Marraccini, that a police officer would be present at each of the six district schools and that they would be notified when the officers were eventually removed from the schools.

The meeting took place just hours after a man, who claimed to be an armed security guard, tried to walk into Hommocks Middle School, but was turned away by a supervisor. All Mamaroneck schools were under lockdown as a result.

The presence of the officers eased concerns about sending children to school, many parents said, but they agreed with Marraccini that it is not a long-term solution. He described it as a start and plans to observe some of the school buildings Friday with Superintendent Lou Wool.

Calling it a “huge task and responsibility,” Marraccini said there are many components to making schools safer and that it cannot be done overnight. The chief, who has five children in the Harrison schools, has met with Belmont and Wool to discuss the issue.

When told that the Harrison Board of Education had not met since Dec. 12, two days before the Newtown massacre, parents became angry, with a few shouting and asking why a special meeting had not been held before the next one on Jan. 9. Belmont, Marraccini and the Town Board were then urged to attend the meeting, set for the LMK Middle School Library at 8:15.

For now, parents were glad that officers are stationed at the schools until a long-term solution goes into effect.

“I am very pleased to hear that they are going to be continuing the police presence,” said Pamela Strauss Peligri, who has a 4-year-old boy and another son in first grade. “Hopefully it will last until Plan B.”

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