Port School District Named One Of Island’s Safest

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Port Washington Union Free School District was recently named within the top 100 on Niche.com’s list of Safest School Districts for 2018, which was created utilizing information from the Department of Education, FBI, parent reviews and more. With 26 Long Island schools making the top 100, Port Washington came in at number 67 with Southampton Union Free School District being listed as number two, making it the safest school on Long Island and Lynbrook Union Free School District coming in at second safest school on Long Island.

“The health and safety of our students continues to be our highest priority,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Mooney. “The district recently expanded its security staff and state-of-the-art systems are currently being installed as a result of the community-approved bond. Niche uses student attendance and disciplinary action data along with parent and community responses to arrive at its ranking. While we appreciate the efforts to assess our district in this area, we do not believe that this, or any one particular listing released by an outside organization, accurately represents the comprehensive and thorough practices in place that safeguard our schools.”

In response to the recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, the Port Washington School District reassured the community that safety is their top concern with a response letter detailing the safety measures they have put in place.

“Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the victims and their families, students, parents and staff, who have suffered the most unimaginable loss that life can deliver,” wrote Mooney and President of the Board of Education Karen Sloan. “These horrific events remain as a constant reminder that our schools must be secure, safe places for teaching and learning and that the emotional health and well-being of our children must take precedence in order for them to thrive academically. We want to assure you that the Board of Education and Administration are doing everything possible to ensure that students, families and staff are safe within our walls and on our grounds.”

The two detailed that over the past year, the Port Washington Union Free School District has expanded their security staff and added full-time trained security guards, who have law enforcement backgrounds, to all schools.

They also assured that building doors are locked during the day, buzzer systems are in place at all elementary schools and all visitors must present identification that is scanned before entering the buildings. The district also has safety plans mandated by the State Education Department and required drills occur on a regular basis.

Along with the plans, Mooney and Sloan continued that the school district has a collaborative relationship with the Port Washington and Sands Point Police Departments regarding their safety measures.

“Sadly, due to participation in summer camps and other associations, several Port Washington students and staff know students involved in yesterday’s event,” wrote Mooney and Sloan on Feb. 15. “This brings the tragedy very close to home. Please feel free to contact any of the mental health professionals on our staff if you have any concerns with which we can assist. The district has increased mental health professionals on our staff through recent budgets and we will continue to do so in the future.”

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Christina Claus is a reporter for Anton Media Group and a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly and Anton's magazines.

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