Montclair Police to Get Office Space in Glenfield Middle School

BY  |  Saturday, Oct 05, 2013 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (50)

Glenfield Middle School

At the last Board of Education meeting, Police Chief David Sabagh announced that the MPD would be placing officers inside Glenfield Middle School to establish better communication with the students, parents and teachers.

Yesterday, Glenfield principal Joseph Putrino sent home a newsletter titled, “Glenfield: A True Blue Community School,” with more details of the partnership between the Montclair Community Police Unit and Glenfield. This is a part of the MPD’s new Community Service Unit initiative:

Glenfield Middle School has been known as a true community school. We offer our space and resources to all aspects of the town. Our facility has housed many community-based functions ranging from sporting events to the Montclair Adult School. We are now engaged in yet another community partnership that will indeed benefit our town and our school. Glenfield Middle School and the Montclair Police Department have joined forces!

The History
As part of their new community policing program the Montclair Police Department is seeking to reconnect with schools. Many of you may remember the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program that used to exist in all of our schools. Due to town budget constraints the program was eliminated over 5 years ago. I still run into teachers, students and parents who valued and miss the program. D.A.R.E was not only a great system for educating students but also a way to remove the stigma of seeing a police officer and thinking, “There must be a problem!” When the MPD approached me about wanting to have a base in one of our schools, I saw a win-win situation.

The Schedule
Beginning this month, I have offered to give the Montclair Police Department office space at Glenfield Middle School. Our partnership is one that will pilot an idea to utilize each other as a resource. In the future other schools may also be included in this plan. Access to Glenfield is a logistical benefit for their community policing program. You may have noticed the increased presence of the police around our neighborhood.

The Gain
In return we will be able to use the officers present during the day to assist with arrival and dismissal procedures and as a resource throughout the day. Our plans currently have the officers presenting to kids on important issues and helping the administration problem solve issues like drop off traffic. Once again our school community will lose the stigma that seeing a police officer means something is
wrong.

The office space designated for the Montclair Police Department will be in the main office. At any given time there will be two officers present in the school and two out in the field “walking the beat.” As a perk we will have two officers on patrol up until (but not limited to) 10:00pm. This means that much of any unwanted nighttime behaviors will be deterred away from the school.

The Plan
We have a transition plan that will allow all students to acclimate to the presence of our new guests. The Montclair Police Department has purchased a more relaxed uniform for the officers who will participate in the partnership. Students can expect Montclair blue polo’s with a more casual look. Additionally, as we integrate the officers to a more permanent presence, we will be circulating to each house to introduce the officers so the students are completely familiar with our guests. Also, we will be training the officers in the nuances of education and middle school students.

I want to reinforce that I am the principal of the school and make all decisions for our students throughout the school day. The police will only be involved if I have requested their service (pretty cool).

The Announcement
To slowly transition the school into this new partnership, The Montclair Public Schools and Glenfield have taken several steps to ensure our population has been informed. At the last Montclair Board of Education meeting Police Chief David Sabagh spoke about the program. Additionally, Glenfield PTA dedicated our last meeting on October 1st to this topic. Glenfield staff have also been included in the conversation. It is important to us to ensure that our population had a chance to hear the details of the program and ask questions.

Together, I know we can refine security procedures at Glenfield, reduce the stigma of our police force, increase awareness on important issues like drugs and alcohol and reconnect with the community on a more meaningful level.

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me.

Dr. Joseph A. Putrino, Jr.
jputrino@montclair.k12.nj.us

50 Comments

  1. POSTED BY spridgets  |  October 05, 2013 @ 10:27 am

    Is this a psychopathic joke of some sort?

  2. POSTED BY montclairlifer1  |  October 05, 2013 @ 10:47 am

    This is probably one of THE most frightening stories I have read. If the people in our town can’t read between the lines here, it is a town of the blind. FOUR armed policeman in and around a middle school in Montclair, New Jersey where the average tax bill is 20K. This is not Irvington or Newark (btw it is NOT acceptable there either). Horrifying beyond words. Why would anyone send their child to Glenfield School? Please don’t tell me this is the real world…don’t insult the memories of those slaughtered at Newtown or Columbine. This is NOT acceptable in this town or any other. Parents, be responsible for your children…know who their friends are; know who their parents are; KNOW WHERE THEY ARE and accept responsibility for their actions. I don’t want to hear that the perpetrators of crime are from out of town. That is BS…they don’t just drive into Montclair without knowing people here. If that were the case, they would be driving into Glen Ridge, Verona and North Caldwell! We can not let the deterioration of this town continue. Forget fighting about whether there should be 6 or 8 stories in a development…NO ONE WILL WANT TO LIVE HERE with armed presence in a middle school and possible expansion to other schools…What does this tell us about the “real” crime statistics in Montclair? BEYOND FRIGHTENING

  3. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  October 05, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

    Following the last BOE meeting I posted here indicating that this was an extremely bad decision. I was loudly shouted down by agideon who announced that this was no big deal because “the police at Glenfield would not be policing.”

    This is a disaster for any education plan in the Montclair School District. It is a direct result of the complete mishandling of the recent gun incident at Glenfield by Superintendent MacCormack and then covered by her and the BOE by firing the school principal, the only one who indeed acted.

    This indicates that the Montclair schools are now inner city schools. The Superintendent and the BOE of education have lost control over their remit, similar to the fiasco’s at the BOE meeting. The upshot of this is far worse.

    spridgets link is no joke. Police are not educators. But obviously the BOE and the Superintendent are not as well. The children in Glenfield will be walking every day between the cross hairs of guns owned by criminals and guns owned by law enforcement. Incidents are bound to occur. Teachers, staff and foremost the children will be blamed.

    Those calling for respect and a civil conversation on education in Montclair while supporting guns in schools have lost much credibility.

    Send your children to the Montclair public schools if you want them to graduate to prison. That is the inevitable, and proven, result of police presence in a school.

  4. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 05, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

    “It is a direct result…”

    More misinformation. Why not call this the “Liberal Police Office Space” issue, since you follow the Fox News misinformation campaign manual so closely?

    In fact, in the meeting at the school (and, I believe, at the BOE meeting), your theory was debunked; it was specifically stated that this is not the case. More, in response to a question from the audience, one of the officers – Sergeant Williams, if I recall correctly – pointed out that they’ve been receiving requests from parents at numerous schools for increased foot patrols in those schools’ areas (and the business district(s) nearby). I believe he said that the police are hoping to satisfy as many of those as possible, as a part of the move back to Community Policing, consistent with available resources.

    Community Policing. Responding to citizen requests. Yes, how awful.

    I admit to some discomfort with officers in the school; it’s a new idea for me. On the other hand, I don’t reject ideas out of hand merely because I’m uncomfortable or unfamiliar with them.

    As I understand it, there’s a successful collaboration between school and police already occurring at the High School. More, DARE apparently worked until it was dropped due to budget issues.

    Why shouldn’t this be successful as well?

    …Andrew

    P.S. During that meeting at the school, a parent asked a question about an incident that occurred with her child on some social media platform. I’d not have seen this as something to be addressed by the police. Yet I learned afterward that the answer she received from one of the school’s staff missed her point entirely, while the answer from the officer was spot on and helpful.

    The police may not be educators, but this doesn’t mean that they’ve nothing to offer our kids.

  5. POSTED BY spridgets  |  October 05, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

    Plus, I find the reference to DARE to be offensive as well. I’d be interested to hear if there was ever any evidence of its effectiveness, as it certainly endangered family dynamics by encouraging indoctrinated children to act as informants against their own parents.

  6. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 05, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

    “they don’t just drive into Montclair without knowing people here”

    Let’s assume for the moment that “they” drive into Montclair because “they: do know people here. How is that related to “Parents, be responsible for your children…and accept responsibility for their actions”? The instruction is a good one, of course, but it does nothing for actions performed by people [that know people] that are outside our kids’ circle of friends.

    While taking the responsibility described above is necessary, it is hardly sufficient.

    …Andrew

  7. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 05, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

    “endangered family dynamics by encouraging indoctrinated children to act as informants against their own parents.”

    Yet imagine a world where one of her children had contacted someone about Diane Schuler before eight people died. That “informing” would have saved lives including that of Diane Schuler.

    …Andrew

  8. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  October 05, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

    Andrew, just imagine living in East Germany in the 1960′s or in North Korea today. You really have no idea how dangerously naive you are.

    And just what else did the good police officer tell you at the BOE meeting? You said, and I quote, “the police won’t be policing.” And you believed what you said. Just where were you educated?

    You cannot live free if you live in fear. Bad things happen in the world. Worse things, much worse, happen when kids inform on their parents and guns are put in schools.

    This either signals that education is dying in the Montclair public schools or that education in these schools is already dead. One cannot think of something worse that the Superintendent and the BOE could have done to the schools.

    PS Police are not “liberals” or “conservatives,” they are public servants. A parent asking a police officer to better patrol a school area while standing in line at Dunkin Donuts is fine. Putting a fulltime police presence (4!, with an “office”) in a school is something entirely different. It’s like a parent complaining to a BOE member in the A&P and then having the teachers permanently kicked off the agenda. Is this how you want decisions to be made in your town?

  9. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 05, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

    “just imagine living in East Germany in the 1960′s or in North Korea today. You really have no idea how dangerously naive you are…You cannot live free if you live in fear.”

    As paranoid as I can be on occasion, I do believe that the fear you sense is more yours than mine.

    “Police are not “liberals” or “conservatives,” they are public servants.”

    I would simply offer this fine statement back to you.

    …Andrew

  10. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 05, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

    “Bad things happen in the world. Worse things, much worse, happen when kids inform on their parents and guns are put in schools.”

    Again: I admit to discomfort with guns in the schools. On the other hand, there are examples where the collaboration has worked and is working in town.

    However, the “informing” comment is true paranoia, and woefully wrong. One might as well be listening to “Talk Radio” about “The President is coming to Get My Guns.”

    Rather than dealing with the underlying phobia, I’ll simply cite again the case of Diane Schuler where someone having caused her to get some help could have saved eight lives including hers. I imagine in a GOP world-view, the “personal responsibility” argument is to “Let Them Die”. I readily admit: I don’t share that view.

    …Andrew

  11. POSTED BY twill  |  October 05, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

    It is truly amazing to read much of the rhetoric by those that base conclusions on what? The fact is Montclair Police are in and around the schools regularly. Mostly in plain clothes over the past 5 years, as the Juvenile Aid Bureau has been in partnership with the MBOE with liaisons assigned to EVERY public school. The Montclair Police Department has several officers that are trained/certified by the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO). This is merely an expansion of a successful partnership that has, and continues to exist between the Montclair Police Department and the Montclair Board of Education. Those that suggest anything other than that are either uninformed, or purpose advancing some type of agenda.

  12. POSTED BY nonfatwithwhip  |  October 05, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

    They should set up an office and a road block at the entrance to town on Orange Rd.. Also, the BOE should take notice of how many kids seem to be heading home to the Oranges at the various bus stops along Orange Rd when school lets out.

  13. POSTED BY montclairlifer1  |  October 05, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

    “successful partnership” 4 armed policeman in and around a Middle School is not a successful partnership, in my opinion. You seem to be missing the point. The police and superintendent and BOE CHOSE to house officers in and around this Montclair Middle School. Does this not make you wonder exactly what it is you have not been told regarding crime in that school and on its grounds? “Direct traffic”???? Have you ever seen the drop off and pick up at all 3 of MKA’s campus? Try looking at that and then tell me why 4 members of Montclair’s finest need to be assigned to Glenfield for “traffic duty”. Wake up…there is so much more going on here.
    Community policing…we are going back to it? If that’s the case, we can have the police go back to registering bike ownership at the schools…get real. This is not community policing. Someone needs to tell the taxpayers of Montclair what really is going on. There may be education taking place there, but clearly students, parents and teachers alike are AFRAID there.If you don’t admit there is a problem, it will never be addressed, much less solved.

  14. POSTED BY Kristin  |  October 05, 2013 @ 11:05 pm

    I’m torn on this issue. I don’t like the idea of a police presence in schools, but the program described seems less like “armed guards” and more like “resource officers.” I served as a Dean of Security for several years when I taught high school in Brooklyn, and I had mostly excellent experiences with in-school police officers, and a few times that I would have made very different choices. We certainly missed our assigned officer when budget cuts forced us to share him with two other schools. He was trained in working with adolescents specifically, and really had a knack for helping the kids. I’d think/hope that these officers would also have on-going training in dealing with the unique challenges of tweens and teens in their emotional and identity development.

    I think those saying this is a “disaster” for the school are off base, but I am certainly not a fan of firearms in schools, no matter who is carrying them.

    That said, the situation can be a boon, but only if the principal is forthright when he says that he is the leader in the school. And I hope Principal Putrino rethinks his statement that it would be “pretty cool” that officers would be involved only if he called them. Any situation that would warrant his request of officer assistance would certainly not be cool.

    Parents and the community should be vigilant in this situation, and actively remind the principal of his assertions in this letter once the program has begun. And it’s also good to remember that the police officers in Montclair are not storm troopers. They are community members and parents and friends and people. My impression from this letter is not that these officers would be patrolling the halls, but that they could serve as resources to the school while working out of a strategic position both geographically and as true “community policing.”

  15. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  October 06, 2013 @ 2:44 am

    I think it’s “pretty cool” too that cops will only “present” themselves upon the call from good ‘ol Sheriff Putrino. I’m sure the kind citizens of Glenfield will take heart in knowing that them coaches, horses and buggies will be safe at pick up and drop off.

    Please.

    Reading the letter (I’ll refrain from addressing the appropriateness of its tone, though I did, above… and below), I’m still left wondering why? The link in the article states, “Expect to see the CSU officers around town, in your neighborhood, at the schools and definitely, Sgt. Williams says, ‘at Mountie games.’”

    So the most obvious question is, what about the other TWO middle-schools? (Or is Glenfield “special” because of the past lapse in leadership?)

    Moreover, placing “cops in schools” should not buried in an agenda at a full BOE meeting, and then began with a simple letter home. Rather, smaller, school and community meetings focused only on this issue that allow parents and community members to feel as if they are at least being heard on the matter.

    I’m undecided about cops in schools, I can see how some might think it “feels” like a step towards an “inner-city” (read: bad neighborhood location) school. However, I’m not one to be fearful of a police presence, and don’t immediately see it as a step in the wrong direction.

    The issue here for me, is how this came to be: a cheery, happy, “cool” letter filled with exclamation points and boasting of the “positives,” is too lite, considering the seriousness of the issue.

    But I’m sure all the schools- elementary schools too- will have cops “assigned” to them in the next few years.

    It’s where America is headed.

  16. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  October 06, 2013 @ 9:23 am

    twill, your contribution to this discussion is much appreciated here. It provides interesting information held by the members of the Montclair Board of Education (MBOE), but it also highlights the real and legitimate concerns teachers, parents and children have regarding the otherwise less than transparent going ons within the MBOE.

    You should understand that community members who object to the ongoing destruction of education in the district are not engaging rhetoric for “some type of agenda.” It would be appreciated if MBOE members would accept informed criticism more constructively.

    Principal Putrino wrote to all the parents and deliberately published the following: “As part of their new community policing program the Montclair Police Department is seeking to reconnect with schools.” You stated: “The fact is Montclair Police are in and around the schools regularly. Mostly in plain clothes over the past 5 years . . . liaisons assigned to EVERY public school. . . . This is merely an expansion of a successful partnership that has, and continues to exist between the Montclair Police Department and the Montclair Board of Education.” So why are we being told, on the one hand, that is is a “new community policing program” and, on the other hand, that this is simply the “expansion of a successful partnership” between the MBOE and the police department over the past five years.

    It is understandable then why well intentioned parents (such as agideon) present misinformation to the community, which really has its basis in the lack of transparency and honesty from the School Superintendent and the MBOE. (It is not understandable why agideon does not recognize that he was deceived and does not apologize for his spreading of misinformation, but continues to accuse others.)

    As everyone well knows, Mr. Putrino owes his position to the ousting of his predecessor due to a previous gun incident. Surely no one believes he wrote this letter himself. One wonders why Superintendent MacCormack when penning the letter or the MBOE members when reviewing it did not interject a bit of honesty.

    Why have armed plain clothes police officers been circulating among children on school property without the parents or children being informed? What violence and criminal activity has been taking place in the schools over the past five years that requires such secret and dangerous activity? And what has happened recently to escalate this to the full-time policing of young children, even on the playground?

    There are other questions as well. For example, how much does it cost to keep four police officers working overtime every day at a school with young children in it? Who pays for the payrolls and the office? The police department? of the MBOE? Will the MBOE be writing out another bond to pay for the police at Glenfield? Are there plans to include a police office and more than a fulltime presence of armed police officers in other school in Montclair? in which school? when? Will the police be detaining children in the school? Are they permitted to handcuff young children and remove them from the school? with or without the parents’ permission? being informed? Will police officers be holding criminals on school property? Will criminals from outside the school property be detained in the school’s police office? Are there any special rules that police officers must follow for engaging children on school property? Are there special rules the police officers must follow for drawing their weapons or discharging them on school property? And many more questions children and parents have a right to know. Not just the disingenuous fluff of the letter Principal Putrino signed.

    However, these questions should not be needed. Not everyone shares the good profwilliams’ defeatist attitude: “This is where America is headed.” One hopes that the country is not headed to a police state where children inform on their parents and are in turn policed while learning to read and write. And one hopes that there would be a School Superintendent and a Board of Education that is receptive, not simply demeaning, to the real concerns of teachers, parents and (yes, indeed) children.

  17. POSTED BY muba  |  October 06, 2013 @ 11:37 am

    There is a significant difference between an external police presence and the stationing of police inside the school. Glenfield seems to have causally crossed a line that takes us closer to the kind of society the NRA wants us to live in. Equating this decision with community sports and adult education shows a frightening level of naivety or dishonesty on the part of the school leadership.

  18. POSTED BY walleroo  |  October 06, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

    Do we really want a principle in this school district who thumbs his nose at evidence? No. Putrino ought to be sacked for the following statement:

    “Due to town budget constraints the [DARE] program was eliminated over 5 years ago. I still run into teachers, students and parents who valued and miss the program. D.A.R.E was… a great system for educating students…”

    There is copious evidence that DARE is ineffective. It is a feel good program for parents, that’s all.

    Why should we believe anything else that comes out of his mouth?

  19. POSTED BY walleroo  |  October 06, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

    Putting police in Glenfield school could be interpreted as an admission by administrators that they have lost control of their own students. Putrino’s weirdly upbeat tone (“Glenfield Middle School and the Montclair Police Department have joined forces!”) does not reassure me on this score.

    My totally uninformed guess is that when this idea backfires Putrino will take the fall.

  20. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  October 06, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

    walleroo, you don’t think Principal Putrino really wrote the letter himself, do you? “When the MPD approached me about wanting to have a base in one of our schools, I saw a win-win situation.” So the MPD approached the Glenfield Principal to discuss a police “base” in one of the Montclair schools. That makes perfect sense.

    The author of this letter too often reveals herself.

    Agree with you about DARE.

    Teachers, parents and children are not being told the truth by the Montclair’s education leadership.

  21. POSTED BY walleroo  |  October 06, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

    He put his name on it.

  22. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  October 06, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

    Far from defeatist, idratherbeat63. I imagine ours is not the first school district to want to put armed cops in or near schools after Sandyhook.

    Look for it in Malls too, after Nairobi.

    Oh, and just as folks couldn’t imagine that every piece of their online lives would be cross-checked by the NSA, it’s not defeatist to see where this fear logically ends.

    So the, Yes. This is where America is headed.

    I don’t think it’s “defeatist,” I think it makes sense in some areas. And it seems that Glenfield is one of them.

    btw, stop with the idea that this letter was ghost written by the Super. It’s signed from the Principal, so as Mr. Roo says, he owns it. (I’d also believe that the Super’s tone would have at least been more appropriate.)

  23. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 06, 2013 @ 6:05 pm

    “why agideon does not recognize that he was deceived and does not apologize for his spreading of misinformation, but continues to accuse others”

    I imagine that you’re trying to mimic me, considering how often I have to point out the misinformation you issue. I appreciate the flattery. To do it correctly, though, requires citation. Merely repeating falsehoods doesn’t make them fact despite what you’re learning from the Tea Party.

    You claim not to be serving “some type of agenda”. That doesn’t appear consistent with your message. While you ask some interesting questions, and there are legitimate concerns here, you generally bury them under conspiracy theories that would make Michele Bachmann proud. Bonding for operational costs? “Surely”, Dr. Putrino didn’t author the letter but is instead merely passing on messages from his puppeteer? “…policing of young children, even on the playground…”?

    The idea of kids “informing” on their parents remains in your message, though I note you’ve completely ignored my repeated mention of Diane Schuler as an example of eight lives that might have been saved had a kid sought help for a parent.

    What you may fail to realize is that your message of mistrust and hate and “personal responsibility” rather than operating as a community detracts from the conversation. It may even work against your own agenda. You make it far more difficult to address legitimate concerns when you tie those concerns together with the outrageous.

    …Andrew

  24. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 06, 2013 @ 6:14 pm

    “There is a significant difference between an external police presence and the stationing of police inside the school. Glenfield seems to have causally crossed a line that takes us closer to the kind of society the NRA wants us to live in.”

    I understand the concern, but I don’t see it this way. First, let’s keep in mind that the NRA favors pretty much anyone with a gun in the schools. Volunteer parent, teacher, librarian, etc. I imagine that the NRA would be happy with High School students earning Community Service credit by forming an armed patrol of the schools.

    There’s a significant distance between this and having trained police officers involved.

    Beyond this, though, let’s keep in mind that what’s really occurring is some shared office space. The officers aren’t walking the halls enforcing discipline or even guarding those halls. They’re merely using the school as a base of operations for increased policing of the outside community.

    Beyond this, they are acting as a resource for the schools. Traffic advice? The occasional presentation to the kids on some topic of which the officers are well informed? These sound like worthy benefits.

    Yes, this still means weapons in schools. And that should raise concerns! But we should be careful not to fall into the trap of hyperbole set by some posting here.

    Come to a PTA meeting to ask your question. If you want a more quiet approach, speak to Dr. Putrino. He and we are both new to Glenfield, but he seems to be very available to parents and our concerns.

    …Andrew

  25. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  October 06, 2013 @ 6:36 pm

    “They’re merely using the school as a base of operations for increased policing of the outside community.”

    … Andrew, from your (often) thoughtful posts, I know you are not as naive to believe that this is all they are “merely” doing?

    I don’t have to attend a BOE meeting to imagine how cops in schools are, and will be used. A “resource” for whom? Tell me the scenario where, who, a teacher, needs the “resources” of an officer other than, “help!!” Or it appears, “someones blocking Elm St.”?

    And after such “use,” I imagine the officer will offer a report that s/he “resourced” at the school, which may certainly include student information. So then the student info is communicated to the police.

    This is far from the resource of say, the book mobile driver. Or the reading specialist.

  26. POSTED BY muba  |  October 06, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

    @agideon A school should not be a base for police operations. All the worthy activities you describe can be done without a permanent police presence inside the school.

  27. POSTED BY unintimidated  |  October 06, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

    This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Ordinarily, teachers need only reasonable suspicion to detain a student, search a locker or backpack. With the police there, reasonable suspicion isn’t enough, and probable cause is needed.

  28. POSTED BY latebloomer  |  October 06, 2013 @ 9:23 pm

    This is a frightening and intolerable step towards the militarization of our schools. And the way that it is presented is an insult to our intelligence. Why should we accept that armed police officers- 4 of them??- should be stationed in a middle school? For what possible reason? And I love how this is presented all tied up with a pretty bow- “community”- “welcoming our guests”? -really ? Who actually made this decision ?

  29. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  October 06, 2013 @ 10:03 pm

    @ unintimidated, cops have been in schools across the Country for decades. Not sure about ours being a “lawsuit waiting to happen.” Likewise, your legal analysis is off because the mere presence of an Officer in the building does not change anything. Though IF the Officer commits to a search, you may be right. Though, it appears that good ‘ol Sheriff Putrino can deputize these “peace” officers, which is “cool,” and thus avoid any legal issues.

    @ latebloomer, take a breath. While this is questionable, as stated above, cops in schools is nothing new. That you think it’s a “militarization” of the schools is overblown. These are local cops, not National Guard/Serviceman. Understand, there is a lot to hate about this, but the “militarization” of our schools is not one of them.

    But by this, I assume you screamed about the “militarization” of your commute when you saw the National Guard with their big ‘ol M16′s patrolling Grand Central, Penn Station and various subway stops.

    It’s where America is headed.

  30. POSTED BY latebloomer  |  October 07, 2013 @ 5:05 am

    I don’t think militarization is too strong a word, prof, because the police are rapidly turning into a military force in this country. Police do not belong in schools. period. If there is an incident requiring their services they can be summoned. If they want to come in and give a talk at an assembly or in a class for some reason, no problem. But I see absolutely no reason for a constant police presence in our schools, and it raises a dangerous precedent.

    And yes, I don’t commute to the city, but I am disturbed when I see National Guard patrolling city streets That is not supposed to be their role except in case of emergency.

    I would like to know how this decision came about, who were the decision-makers, what is the involvement of the superintendent, and what is the true goal beyond all the Kumbaya, won’t you be my neighbor load that is being fed to us.

  31. POSTED BY mcinmtc  |  October 07, 2013 @ 9:45 am

    Just an FYI to all — There has long been a uniformed officer/s assigned to Montclair High. I know that may not be comparing apples to apples, but a police presence in a school is not new in Montclair.

    Given the Glenfield Park neighborhood’s recent demand for more of a police presence in the area due to very real gun violence, this discussion might be advanced productively by BKids if you could share the perspective of neighborhood leaders and 4th Ward rep Dr. Baskerville, too.

  32. POSTED BY alic314  |  October 07, 2013 @ 10:05 am

    I think Kristin and mcinmt hit the nail on the head here.

    To Kristin’s point as an educator with experience here, I agree. It can be a boon, but we have to be mindful of the program and it’s development over time. And yes, these officers are professionals, public servants. Let’s not demonize them.

    To mcinmt’s point about the crime in the vicinity of Glenfield – additional presence of police isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And with the loss of the Lackawanna Police Sub-Station a few years ago, it makes sense in a “shared services” point of view for the town.

    I’m not entirely comfortable with the idea, but I also know we live in a world where crazies will think nothing of walking into a park or school and wreck havoc.

  33. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  October 07, 2013 @ 10:33 am

    I have to add a personal note. The police officers in the Community Police Unit, led by Sgt. Williams, are a big part of the community. I had the pleasure of meeting them when I covered the announcement press meeting for Baristanet. Most of them were born and raised in Montclair and attended the public schools. They all have ties to the town and spend their personal time coaching and working with young students. They truly struck me as officers who love this community and want to build stronger ties.

    Knowing that makes me feel more comfortable with the idea. I don’t love having armed officers in our schools, but I see the value if implemented correctly.

  34. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  October 07, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

    The good profwilliams has asked us not to question the authorship of this letter. We should accept that what Mr. Putrino tells us in the letter is true, just as true as his signature. agideon accuses those who object of hyperbole and “conspiracy theories.” He also accuses them of being Republicans and taking their cues from Fox News.

    So perhaps it can seem to be a distraction to question the authorship of this letter signed and distributed by Mr. Putrino. It should be sufficient to say that putting police in schools to police children is contrary to education in any sense of the word. This is true and this has been repeatedly demonstrated in all studies that have addressed this issue.

    Some of you want us to believe police belong in schools simply because the police officers you have met on the corner or in Dunkin Donuts are nice people. (As if anyone here is questioning them being nice people and even very professional.) Even some of you suggest that objecting to having a fulltime police presence in schools is “demonizing” police officers. Of course, this is entirely untrue but it is also irrelevant. When police do their job as described and expected, most people appreciate them. This is normal for anyone doing any job. If a school principal asks the police for support when there is a violent situation or when a crime is committed, then this is also normal and should be expected. If the principal of a teacher invites the police to come into the school at a certain time to meet and greet the students and talk about policing, this is wonderful. It should even be encouraged.

    Having a police presence in the form of plain clothes police officers in the school for the past five years without informing or discussing this with parents, children and teachers is absolutely unacceptable. Putting a police office and a fulltime presence of police officers in a school with young children is absolutely unacceptable. There are some “services” in a town that do not get shared with children. One should be at least a small bit reasonable.

    But back to the letter and its authorship because herein lies a key problem: the letter is simply not honest. Principal Putrino signs stating: “this is a new community policing program.” But we know that this is not true, thanks to an MBOE member posting here. Dr. Putrino signs: “I have offered to give the Montclair Police Department office space at Glenfield Middle School.” Does anyone believe that he made the offer? That the offer was not made at the request of the MPD and with first the approval of Superintendent MacCormack and the BOE? This institutionalization of the policing of children comes about through dishonesty on the part of the town’s education and political leadership. Of course, they want everyone to be “respectful” and “civil,” and above all else, silent.

    America may be heading this way. Just as it headed in the direction of slavery and discrimination for so many years because “America is heading this way” and no one has the courage to insist on freedoms and integrity.

    The “crazies” are the ones who invite guns in schools and want their children policed just as criminals are policed.

  35. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  October 07, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

    “This is true and has been repeatedly demonstrated in all studies that have addressed the issue”.

    No, this has not been repeatedly demonstrated in “all studies that have addressed the issue”. In fact, what research there is that pertains to effectiveness is all over the place. You can start with Chongmin Na and Denise Gottfredson’s 2011 study published in JUSTICE QUARTERLY, “Plice Officers in Schools: Effects on School Crime and the Processing of Offending Behaviors.” The US DOJ has looked at the issue as well : http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Publications/e041028272-assign-officers-to-schools.pdf

    Nothing is definitive. Common sense would suggest that different communities have different needs, and that the very definition of “effectiveness” is open to debate. In this area, many schools that are not in high crime areas have SROs — Parsippany comes to mind, and there are many others.

    Personally, I don’t think that police officers on a permanent basis are needed yet in Montclair. That day may come, but I don’t think it is here yet. But “militarization” and the similar foaming at the mouth from idrather and others is, as expected, WAY over the top.

  36. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  October 07, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

    crioagusanam, thank you. Great reading of this how to manual from the COPS Office.

    It suggests that the goal of SRO is

    -Increased safety in and around the schools
    -Increased perceptions of safety
    -Improved police call response times
    -Reductions in truancy
    -Fewer distractions from their teachers’ teaching and class
    preparation duties.

    It then concludes: “Most existing SRO [School Resource Officers] research does not tell us if these hoped-for benefits are achieved.” and “More outcome-focused research is needed to establish whether (and how) SROs are effective in reducing crime and disorder; that is, whether they make schools safer.”

    Note: the COPS Office actively promotes and funds the placing of police officers in schools. Still it itself cannot demonstrate that these activities are effective. It is certainly not going to publish any handbook that goes against its raison d’etre.

    Here is more “foaming at the mouth”: http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/texas-police-schools-criminalize-300000-students-each-year Of course, none of this could ever happen in Montclair.

    Apologies for overreacting. But putting grown adults in schools with guns, Mace and handcuffs to police 10 and 12 year old boys and girls is, well, simply over the top.

  37. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  October 07, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

    So your conclusion is that the research is not definitive. Or put differently, police presence has not been “repeatedly demonstrated” to be disadvantageous in “every study”, as you alleged. It is wise to steer clear of such sweeping statements unless you are in fact familiar with ALL of the research, which is obviously not the case with you.

    Texas police are no doubt acting in a different climate and under different local laws, not the least of which is a state law which permits individuals to carry concealed weapons. So it shouldn’t be surprising if they are a tad aggressive. You don’t address Parsippany or local NJ schools with SROs. Are there horror stories there? I haven’t seen any.

    The police are not there, at least in theory, to “police” children anymore than they are on the streetcorner to “police” you as you stroll down the street. They are there to make a statement and to assuage fears from parents and yes, many students as well. They are as active as the school and district administration want them to be, has been my experience. But if you’d like to conjure up images of 10 years olds being Maced and cuffed, go right ahead. Go right over the top.

  38. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 07, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

    “I know you are not as naive to believe that this is all they are “merely” doing?”

    Perhaps it is naive, but I am taking them at their word. The letter above agrees with my recollection of what was stated at the meeting with school and police officials at the school.

    “Tell me the scenario where, who, a teacher, needs the “resources” of an officer other than, “help!!” Or it appears, “someones blocking Elm St.”?”

    One possible example became apparent during the meeting, in which one of the officers did a terrific job of addressing an issue pertaining to social media. The school staff member addressing the question did not do so well. This suggests one topic on which the officers might productively speak to the kids.

    Perhaps you don’t know – I barely understand this myself – but there’s some type of “social curriculum” occurring at Glenfield. It apparently involves occasional (weekly?) “classes” where an appropriate topic is discussed. The safe use of social media is one such topic. Having people with expertise – as this officer suggested he (she?) had with the answer – is one useful resource.

    There may be other topics appropriate to these classes on which the police may be asked to speak.

    As for “someone is blocking Elm”, perhaps (though that’s more an issue for Bullock than Glenfield {8^). But the example cited in the meeting was a bit higher level. The net result of that example is that a crosswalk is being moved a few meters south to enhance safety.

    As for the “reasonable suspicion” vs. “probable cause” dichotomy, this was also mentioned in the meeting. It was cited as an example of why the police will not be taking over duties belonging to the educators in the building.

    …Andrew

  39. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  October 07, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

    croiagusanam, again going over the top: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oveiArgFAuU

    Notice how the children are blamed and the police supported by the School Superintendent. Of course this could never happen in America; oops, I mean, Montclair.

    Wow, this will really build bonding between the police and children in Montclair: http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=43828

    But, of course, these places are all so far away and completely different than Montclair. (And Texas has laws permitting people to carry concealed weapons [as does NJ], so that explains it all.)

    But enough anecdotes: they weren’t your children after all. As profwilliams suggests, let’s look just at the raw facts and data:

    “Research studies show that placing armed police in schools actually
    increases physical dangers to youth.
    “A 2011 longitudinal study of 470 schools nationwide examined school safety
    over a period of years (2003 – 2004, 2005 – 2006, and 2007 – 2008) during which police officers were added to some schools but not others over time. The researchers found “…no evidence suggesting that [School Resource officers] or other sworn law – enforcement officers contribute to school safety. That is, for no crime type was an increase in the presence of police significantly related to decreased crime rates. The preponderance of evidence suggests that, to the contrary, more crimes involving weapons possession and drugs are recorded in schools that add police officers than in similar schools that do not.”
    http://sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/jj_Police%20in%20Schools%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

    In fact, all of the argument presented here for having police officers in schools are shown to be not only unproven but false. If you want safer schools, less crime in schools, fewer drugs and alcohol, fewer children thrown in prison, and better relations between the police and children . . . keep the police out of schools.

    So why did Principal Putrino lie about the history of this program and who invited the police into Glenfield School?

    Really, who is over the top here?

  40. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  October 07, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

    More BS.

    You have a study. I have a study. Your granny has a study.

    All of that means that there is not, as you stated in your earlier post, “proof” that the presence of police officers is disadvantageous. Period.

    You found example of police over the top. OK. I found an example of a teacher locking a kid in a closet. Does that mean that the presence of teachers in schools is dangerous.

    You have still offered no explanations as to why police presence in Westfield schools, Parsippany schools, and many others in NJ and throughout the country have not resulted in any of the horror shows you cherry picked here.

    Of course, you DO know that the concealed carry laws in NJ could not be more different than those in Texas, right?

    Your grudge against the principal and the superintendent speaks more to YOUR issues, frankly, than it does to any concern for children.
    And that is over the top.

  41. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  October 07, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

    The Community Police program, aka the CPU, is new to the MPD. There hasn’t been a community policing program since cuts were made years ago.

    I can’t speak to whether there have been officers in the schools already in other capacities, but their hasn’t been a CPU in the schools.

  42. POSTED BY latebloomer  |  October 07, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

    Georgette, I’m sure the Montclair cops are lovely people. This does not change the fact that it is not ok to have armed officers in the school on a daily basis. A line has been crossed and, again, I would like to know how, why and by whom this decision was reached.

  43. POSTED BY mcinmtc  |  October 07, 2013 @ 8:39 pm

    I’m not sure if the discussion here has missed this (it was mentioned early in the thread), but there has long been an uniformed officer/s stationed at Montclair High School. In fact, there is a MPD police car at the front entrance just about every day. So if any line” was crossed on this topic (as suggested above), it was crossed long ago by the previous superintendent and not the current one. Officer Nelson was the featured speaker at a recent parent meeting hosted by the MHS School Action Team and she is a valued resource. Whether you agree or not with the presence of resource officers in the schools, they are not completely new in Montclair.

  44. POSTED BY mcinmtc  |  October 07, 2013 @ 8:50 pm

    This article is a bit old (2011), so apologizes if there is more updated info out there, but details Officer Nelson’s work at the high school’s SRO is highlighted.

    http://thejerseytomatopress.com/stories/Montclair-Police-Officer-Kim-Nelson-Edwards-Wins-Prestigious-Award,7613

  45. POSTED BY Kristin  |  October 08, 2013 @ 8:53 am

    idratherbeat63 said: “Surely, if a teacher, administrator or parent established a private number for children to spy on one another and inform on their family and friends, that person would be in prison today.”

    Tips lines are nothing new. It’s not “spying” – it’s sharing a concern. And they allow for people to feel more comfortable sharing information that concerns them. Those who receive them know how to sift through vindictive complaints to find the true concerns. To attack this idea is folly and naive; a concern often shared in high schools is a friend afraid for another friend’s safety.

    To attack this initiative in such a severe fashion alters perception of your other complaints, no matter how valid they may be.

  46. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  October 08, 2013 @ 10:12 am

    Not surprisingly, you continue to rely on assertions that have no basis in fact. “We know” that undercover operations are underway in the schools. Do we? Who says so?

    While your link is nice, it is just as I stated earlier. One study. There are others that agree, others that don’t. If you’ll recall, my original post took issue with your claim that “all” research points to negative results from police in schools. It does not. You are simply lying when you say that it does. And you compound it when you further assert that police presence in schools is widening the achievement gap.

    As I said above, it is your own agenda involving a grudge against the principal and the superintendent that animates this. And as I stated, you have yet to explain how police presence in Westfield, Parsippany etc. schools has “widened the achievement gap”.

    My granny would tell me that it is pointless to engage with someone who is fundamentally dishonest and is willing to use any opportunity to advance a personal animus against an individual. That’s where we are with you.

  47. POSTED BY alic314  |  October 08, 2013 @ 10:17 am

    I’m all for robust debate and ideas that dissent from one another, but I see the argument building on this item of logic:

    Fallacy – In logic and rhetoric, this is usually an incorrect argumentation in reasoning resulting in a misconception or presumption. By accident or design, fallacies may exploit emotional triggers in the listener or interlocutor (appeal to emotion), or take advantage of social relationships between people (e.g. argument from authority). Fallacious arguments are often structured using rhetorical patterns that obscure any logical argument. Fallacies can be used to win arguments regardless of the merits. There are dozens of types of fallacies.

  48. POSTED BY State Street Pete  |  October 08, 2013 @ 10:50 am

    Community policing is good thing, officers around the schools is a good thing, having the MPD set up camp in a school is not and sends a horrible message about the state of the school and possibly the district. I never thought I’d see it happen in Montclair. I’m stunned.

  49. POSTED BY State Street Pete  |  October 08, 2013 @ 11:01 am

    An MPD officer set up a toll-free number to take kids’ calls but parents and teachers were not informed? Does the officer have the authority to do this on her own? Was this approved by the MPD? I can’t believe I’m seeing this. Seems that the fear of crime in Montclair has now made it okay to criminalize behavior that was once dealt with as a matter of school discipline.

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