Central School Break in 9-10
Does anyone know if the kids are on lockdown if if there is any other information being put out?
On 09/11/2019 at approximately 0710 hours police were notified by school personnel that there was a break in at the Great Meadows Central School. Patrol immediately responded to the school and conducted a sweep to ensure that there were no unauthorized persons inside the building. Officers and school security assured the school was safe for the children to enter prior to their arrival. Further investigation showed that two unknown males entered the building at approximately 0105 hours. The actors can be seen on surveillance cameras walking inside the building and entering open classrooms. We are still currently investigating this incident.
So no alarm system was triggered? Are they saving money on security by having the police station right across the street? Why were parents told by the school at 10am that the sweep was still going on? This whole situation is a mess, and someone should be held accountable.
They have surveillance cameras and do have pictures of the car and suspects. They need everyone's help.
englishe30- I 100% agree. They knew this happened the night before and told us after our kids were there?
I think someone needs a reminder that WE are the parents not them. We should have been notified immediately and let us, as the parents, decide if we want our kids in school or not.
It all comes down to trust. I don’t need to know every detail for security purposes. However, as a parent I need to know something before i hand my kids off to you.
They handle the whole thing wrong!
It’s very frustrating as a parent to receive such vague messages about the welfare of our children.
No dogs were brought in to sniff out the school to ensure these individuals didn’t leave anything behind in cabinets or the ceiling. They had almost an hour inside the school. What was their intent?
Based on the first message, the custodians, Mr. Mai, security guard, and an officer swept the building. They were done in an hour. Did they look for anything other then the intruders? Unfortunately, the more information I hear, the more questions I have as a parent as to how this was handled.
There is no way that the kids should have been allowed in to school that day. Also, the parents should have been informed before sending their kids in.
Relatedly, who is our police chief? who made the decision?
Reggie Voter-That’s a very good question with the charges against our current chief. According to wrnj, Police Officer-in-Charge, Lieutenant Christopher Prell was there for the sweep. Guessing his expertise impacted the decision.
Mr. Mai told me tonight at BTSN that he never felt like the students safety was at risk. However, I think we’re being overconfident in the belief that two criminals had no malice thoughts.
Indp. PD posted this morning on FB that they caught the two guys.
There is still no way that the parents shouldn't have been told before sending their kids in, regardless of what "Mr. Mai" thinks. what was the upside to not alerting everyone? Ponderous.
Plus, please spend a few bucks on a decent camera. Really, even one that is dual visible range/IR is only a few bucks. What the heck?
Reggie Voter, I am with you on the lack of communication but I think a lot of this goes beyond Mai, I do believe Mango has the final say on these kinds of issues. If they want to do the right thing the board will hold a meeting to discuss concerns. But lets be serious, they will most likely try to sweep this under the rug.
They can't sweep anything under the rug if there is public outcry. I personally am horrified by this story. This needs to get in the news - in print and televised.
What is the suspected deed that would warrant not having kids in the school?
NJ news tip line: 1-732-902-4480
abc news tip line: 1-877-847-6397
So we now know who doesn't care about the welfare of the students.
justintime, conflicting reports are the issue. If it was handled in a correct manner there would not have been an issue. The school started the problem by issuing an incorrect statement and it all snowballed from there.
Maybe we should wrap our kids in bubble wrap before we send them to school
Yes, the importance of effective communication. I wasn’t sure if some thought there was still a threat of some type.
School is a target.
Quality security system with visual, motion detection and alarm, in my opinion, is a minimum requirement.
1. Why was our school broken into and no alarm went off?
2. What are the qualifications of the people doing the sweep?
3. What was used to do a sweep?
4. What items are on the sweep list e.g. toxic chemicals, weapons, explosives?
5. Why aren't we on our A game with all that has happened e.g. terrorism.
There is no way that there should have been school that day.
There should have been a full EOD sweep before children and employees were allowed in. What if something was on say a three hour timer? I doubt that IPD has that capability, although Chief Keith was an EOD officer in the Army, he's on suspension.
They also need to check for planted surveillance devices which include cameras in the bathrooms.
The alarm malfunction and the poor quality of the images has to be investigated and fixed.
At the very least the WCPO needs to be involved and even better, the NJSP.
Relax! They arrested the guys! 2 knuckleheads who used to live in the area. Some people here are overreacting like the sky is falling!
Happypappy, the likely answer to question #1 is that the entire school is not armed with motion sensors. Perhaps Only certain areas are. Seems like the logical conclusion.
Nah Bruce, you relax. 2 adult men broke into an elem school at 1am in the morning, damaged nothing, stole nothing and walked the halls with hoods pulled up and face masks on for 45 minutes. Its astonishing that anyone could have a half hazard approach to the situation. Hopefully you are right and it was nothing, but there have been 250 school shootings since columbine and every single one of those communities thought “couldn’t happen here”. The sweep was a joke and the kids should not have been in that school until it was 1000% safe. So many communities would love to have been given “a test” instead of the real thing. Why weren’t the cops there when the alarms went off? Why wasn’t hackettstowns dog called in? Where is the communication from the school on how they plan to address the failed safeguards? Bottom line is the school failed the test and if it was “just a couple knucklehead kids” than we’re all very lucky. I expect better because I don’t ever want to be on the receiving end of your or anybody else’s “thoughts and prayers” when something real could have been done.
There is no such thing as being 1000% safe. Risks are reasonably mitigated to the best of our ability.
Life is inherently risky, it's a false expectation to order someone else to provide you and yours with 1000% safety.
I’m with you dad..what is everyone going to do about it? I know I plan on going to the next board of ed meeting on the 24th. The voicemail from Mango yesterday was a joke. There is no reason the school should be that behind in security protocol this day and age.
+1000 Dad. It was a test and they failed in numerous ways. The biggest failure was letting the kids back in the school prematurely. Many a school shooting can be blamed on "knuckleheaded kids," a number of these turned out to be quite ingenious in any evil way. So the authorities quickly concluding in this case, if that's what they did, is yet another failure by authorities charged with protecting our kids while in school.
If my kids were still in this school, I would be advocating, nay forcing, a complete audit of security process and procedures including emergency communications.
Yea, please forgive me. I should have said every possible precautionary measure. I’m fully aware of life’s inherent risks. It’s not unreasonable to ask them to do better. Walmart shouldn’t have better safety protocols than an elem school.
"this day and age."
What day and age would that be? The day and age of jumping to extreme conclusions without facts to back up those conclusions?
Please note #3: "Public perceptions about crime in the U.S. often don’t align with the data."
IMO the police are doing their job as they should be. Jumping to conclusions is the exact OPPOSITE of what should happen here.
Of course jumping to conclusions would be the opposite of what should happen. It's a impossible statement to refute.
As to people doing the job as they should be; I dunno. Including the police. How could that short a scan by one officer, some janitors and a rent-a-cop determine the school was safe given a 45-minute duration of "knuckleheads" being in the school. I mean they were smart enough to wear masks.....
Point is that IMO it appears that "a complete audit of security process and procedures including emergency communications" is well warranted. Magoo and company shouldn't feel bad; it might be a teachable moment to get citizens to believe they fund further security measures.
So there are cameras in the hallways that show which rooms the actors entered? So cops can tell how much time in the room, and if they had a backpack possibly containing weapons or a harmful substance. Maybe the video plus search, along with background knowledge of the perpetrators, allowed for a reasonable conclusion that nothing was done that might harm the public. Just a thought.
Maja, so you are saying from 7:10 am to when students arrived was enough time to get all the information they needed? How were they going to get background knowledge, if at the time they did not know who the perps were? So at the very least a delayed opening should have been decided. Why rush the process and potentially risk the lives of students and teachers?
To set the record straight, Chief Keith was Not and EOC officer. He drove a truck and was an enlisted man according to what has been posted previously.
There is still a Vacuum of leadership in IPD, and it will remain that way until some action is taken to remove or reinstate Aiello.
Of course there is no way one Officer and One Security Guard and a couple of Janitors would be able to say for certain nothing dangerous was left behind. Dogs are avail for this type of thing from either local PD's, the Sheriffs Dept. or State Police, and should have been called in if only for peace of mind. Until that happened, School should have been cancelled or at least put on delay until the School could be properly cleared.
All this of course is just my opinion, but I think it is also just common sense.
Common sense indeed!
Boobalaa, I could be wrong... but I'm pretty sure that the military officers leave the explosive ordnance demolition to the enlisted men.
Perhaps Reggie Voter meant that Keith was a police officer with EOD training in the military, not that he was a military officer.
Give all kids virtual reality headsets already and close the schools down. Only need one teacher per 1000 students. They have them in PA already. Ends all of the bullying and the fears of triggered parents.
Yes, I meant that Keith was an enlisted EOD person in the Army.
There are officers in the EOD groups. I have worked with many of them during my time as an Army civilian.
OMG! I don't have kids but if I had kids in this school I'd want the principal's head and the BOE's head on a platter, along with the officer in charge at the time! These guys could have left a bomb in the ceiling, a closet, anything to be triggered when class was in session. Just because a school is across from a police station doesn't mean that it's completely safe and nothing can happen. Unfortunately in this day and age we have to think of these things. Very sad on how this was handled.
I’d rather be triggered than complacent.
Was hoping to hear from the poster who knows all about protocol. Then we would know if the right things were done.
Again, I believe Aiello drove a truck. He never had EOD training as a specialty. He may have transported some type of explosives in the truck he drove. But other than the common explosive training all soldiers receive, he was not assigned that role.
Even if he was, would you really depend on someone that violated state guidelines on actions during a car chase to the point of nearly injuring innocent drivers. And then further taking a Police vehicle to a party, then having a motor vehicle accident because of alcohol abuse, attempting to have officers cover up his actions, take him home, and have the vehicle removed to his home. Obviously hoping no one would ever know. And you would depend on this guy to find some type of explosive in your child's school?
Again, Common sense.
I get that this sounds a bit crazy, but why do folks think there was a potential bomb in the school? Is that what all the breaking-and-entering folks are doing these days? ;-)
I think was Professor Plum with a laser pointer in the gymnasium.
Seriously, if I had a child in this school, I would ask for a readout for this specific incident and a complete audit of security processes and procedures including emergency communications. It’s not like you want Frank Reagan to reveal anti-terrorist secrets for protection of NYC, but a stamp of approval from a professional audit of what appears to be a very casual and inconsistent process.
Independent of what danger we can imagine, it seems appropriate to call administrators to account for their responsibility. Just saying it’s OK does not make it OK; IMO this situation calls for a little more attention.
So I guess this proves that the secure entrances that were installed don’t really stop anyone from getting into the school
Time to spend money on shields for the windows, weld the doors shut and have full time 24/7 bomb sniffing dogs.
Not only should the school have stayed closed, but rt. 46 should have closed, Marshall law imposed in town, all of our cell phones should have set alarms off and our tv’s should have blasted that annoying tone. Then the kids should have received the rest of the week off so they could discuss their anxiety about this and grief counselors should be made available until at least Christmas.
I don’t want to leave my house.
Justintime, could have been a multitude of things. This is the current reality unfortunately. The mentality of “this is a small town, can’t happen here”, is over.
All this time and I thought Great Meadows and Pleasant Valley were both pleasant and great. Looks like there is a lot to fear living out here after all. I was not afraid before but it appears I was so wrong. I will work harder to become more triggered.
“Justintime, could have been a multitude of things. This is the current reality unfortunately. The mentality of “this is a small town, can’t happen here”, is over.”
Sorry but this reads more like a case of hysteria based of fear of the unknown. The logic demonstrated could, quite literally, be used to invent *any* potential outcome - anything really - a bomb scare being only one.
A simple break-in, imo, is insufficient evidence to jump to the conclusions presented here. The act was apparently not communicated to the community well and seems like it could have been handled better - the school should take note. It can be argued that the investigation wasn’t in-depth enough, and that can be discussed moving forward too, but imo it sounds like school staff did everything they should have because tearing the school apart due to a minor crime and without any indication of other crimes doesn’t seem particularly appropriate.
Regarding the “current reality”, claiming that the possibility XYZ may happen based on zero evidence and on pure emotion is infinitely more common than the real odd XYZ happening itself are. But we see it on the tv daily, the money-making marketing tactics used to trigger people’s emotions into believing that XYZ is more common than it really is (and not coincidentally making the news station more money because they get our attention). Now *that* is a serous problem that we as a society need to address, and soon, before we destroy the fabric of the society we have left.
None of this is new of course, it’s human nature to assume the worst. It’s my opinion that we should recognize when we are doing it though and at least try to keep it in check...
I think in today's America, danger exists in great and pleasant communities alike and it is only prudent to question the school security of our youngest citizens at any time. After all, it is a moving target.
Today, our national fears target outsiders and immigrants when school violence appears to me a mostly domestic act initiated by our own citizens, our neighbors, us. They can be motivated and well armed in all sorts of ways. They can be aware of cameras alarm systems, access points and more. Who knows what they might do. Matter of fact, innovation can determine notoriety, one of these villains' measure of success.
When communications are inadequate, decisions questioned, securities measures seemingly a bit casual and haphazard, then I think it is only prudent to question process and procedures, to call administrators to account. Consider this a dry run. We certainly failed in some aspects of school security, the break-in alone bespeaks that. The communications was tardy and inadequate at minimum. So the administration should step up, self nominate, and audit what happened, what went well, what needs improvement, and what resources are needed to improve.
IMO to say it's all hunky dory, statistics conclude it's not a big deal, is to turn a blind eye as to what happened and to accept the administrative messaging pabulum being offered as solace. When you read the story, already they are investigating parts of the security program like --- why the alarms didn't go off --- they have secured the unsecured access point ---- might there be more --- and why, if this happened at 1am, did they let the kids arrive and wait until 10am to send out the notice --- following policy or cya in case the sweep missed something --- they said the video determined nothing entered, nothing left --- I can tell you I could strap myself with lots of stuff and would look the same in those videos, coming and going --- just saying there's plenty to question here, let's get some answers. The school should not get defensive but instead use this as an opportunity to improve AND to ask for appropriate resources to do that --- THEN the parents can decide what they want to spend to move forward. https://wrnjradio.com/police-investigating-overnight-break-in-at-independence-central-school/
So what is the downside to closing school for a day and being sure of everyone's safety? The kids miss a day of elementary school? Oh, the loss of education! Maybe it cuts into the snow day allocation? So what?
Why answer a question with a question? What is the purpose? Especially when the answer is in as plain sight as the nose on the end of your face.
What sort of clarification are you looking for? OR is clarification your sole purpose in responding to this question with a question?
Sometimes reflecting directly on our choices makes them clearer. In other cases, not so much...
copied from the quotes thread
Fear of danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than danger itself.
- Daniel Defoe
copied from "Platoon"
"We've been kicking so many butts, maybe its time we got our butts kicked."
Quotes won't solve the problems here.
Sorry, couldn't help myself. Imo, these two men made a mockery of the CS security system. That's what I find scary.
Snark, snark..... yes auntiel, I agree. Our kids seem to be ducks in a barrel. That's why a thorough investigation and assessment, by professionals, is needed. Our kids deserve better than to allow a couple of bozo's to enter the school, go undetected for 45 minute or so, and then exit at their leisure right across from the police station.
Give these guys an award and tell them to try the middle school next.....
They went in at 1:00 AM the release stated. Unless there was perimeter and or motion alarms they would not be noticed very easily at that hour. Even with the police station that sits well off the road and not in direct view of the school.
However I do agree an examination of security protocols et al seems to be the prudent thing to do at this point.
Greg, I think that one security metric that we might institute would be that bozo's can not break in, walk around, undetected, and then leave.... Sure, for $400 and a small monthly fee, a Simply Safe system would have sounded the alarm. Perhaps a residential system is not appropriate, but you get the idea on how little this might cost. With long hallways, only a minimum of motion detectors would be needed, and they have sound detectors for broken glass too. Yes, the police station location is a red herring; they are never there (as it should be) anyway. Just tossed it in for effect, my bad.
I would hope the administration would embrace a professional audit as a manner of enhancing school security by highlighting the resources needed to do a better, and this time, adequate job.
For those concerned, September 24th is the board of Ed meeting, and on the 27th is the town meeting to discuss the police chief issue. Both would be great venues to discuss the issues at hand.
Correction. Town meeting is on Friday, not sure if exact time but I believe it’s 10am or 12:00pm. Its not on the calendar for some reason. The Board of Ed meeting is at 7:00 pm.
As a former employee of GMR and having worked in other schools and districts, we can sit here all day and come up with "what if" scenarios of what could have happened, what could have been planted, what could have been missed. Schools can not, and will not, ever be able to address the endless possibilities of "what if" situations. Just sit in a kindergarten class, kids can go on and on with "what if" questions. Given the circumstance and personnel involved in the search, law enforcement was present. No, explosives dogs were not brought in. No, drug sniffing dogs were not brought in - but if it was anthrax, I'm sure many of those dogs don't live beyond their first catch. Please forgive my sarcasm. I've known Mr. Mai for many years and I've never considered any of his actions not to be in the best interest of his students, your children. Having worked in the district during the Chief Riley years, I can tell you that the district worked to remain at the forefront of school safety and developed a model that was used in multiple districts around the state. Of all of the districts that I've worked in, I can not recall or know of any that have had contingency plans to address late-night break-ins, and the "what-if" panic that can ensue. But the incident and method of search, and means and timing of communication can be considered and discussed to make improvements. Every incident is a learning experience, and you need to let the school and district do just that (whether you like it or not). To criticize the leadership for failing to do things you would have done is immaterial. I'm sure as an educator I can analyze the actions of many of the families I've served and criticized how they've raised their kids - but for what end. Judgement here serves no purpose. Thoughtful dialogue on how to improve things is always a welcomed discussion. But remember that schools will always remain soft targets until people value their children more than their money. Ask yourself why your bank has better security than your kids school. Where are the priorities? Schools can only do so much and their budgets are limited. We don't want our taxes raised but we want our schools to be impenetrable from any outside intruders. Be realistic. Attend the board meetings and share your suggestions and concerns, but unless you've walked in the shoes of the people charged with taking care of your kids, withhold your judgement. Should've, Could've, and Would've are not effective tools in working towards solutions. If law enforcement believed that the search was effective, then I too would have taken their recommendation and held classes. It's unfortunate that we live in a hyper-sensitive time with regards to school safety, but as a parent, I get it. Do I assess my kid's school's protocols? You bet. Do I think they're 100% effective and foolproof? Absolutely not. But I know that GMR, my kids school, and the school I work at now, keep student safety a priority. We can debate for hours whether or not it was the right thing to do, to hold classes. But what has been the end result? Did something happen afterwards? Was something missed? Again, a response of "but there could have been....." helps with nothing. If you want heightened security measures or better security tools and systems in place at Central, talk to your local and state representatives. Start there. For many families, they have no idea how expensive good security is. The money does not go as far as you think. Petition the Board to increase funding to help improve security, but understand it's going to come from somewhere else in the district. Are you ready for that consideration? Everything comes at a cost. I believe the district did the right thing. And I say that as a parent, teacher, and school administrator. The failure of a security system to activate or respond identifies an issue to be fixed. The timing and message of communicating the issue, again, something that can be addressed. Rally around your school during times like this rather than pounce on every flaw you can find. Work to make improvements and be grateful for what you do have on the campuses. Most schools, including the one I currently serve, don't have half of what has been put in place in GMR. The choice is yours: remain the arm-chair quarterback, passing judgment on actions you're not a part of, or become part of the process to make positive changes and imprvements.
For the "illusion" of safety (George Carlin) maybe they should station some Patriot missile batteries on the playground to prevent a drone attack as well.
Buddy, you are wrong.
They should have called off school for the day and made double, triple sure. There is no way that they did a proper sweep in the time frame indicated.
There's absolutely no upside to having school there that day and no downside to cancelling.
No downside to cancelling...just an extended school year
Sure are a lot of security experts in here I'm seeing. Quite impressive actually!
An extended school year by 1 day would have been well worth the inconvenience.
Oh come on. There is nothing wrong with asking for a security audit here. 45 minutes walking around the building undetected; sloppy search, sloppier communications — this wasn’t a “you can’t protect against everything,” this was an abject failure all around.
Compared to what could be said, I think asking for an audit to determine if improvements should be made, if additional resources are needed, is being very polite.
Consider it a test and we failed.
So just to be clear, every time someone has a concern about safety in the school we should send the kids home and take a day off?
I hope many realize that the school deals with not-so-nice stuff everyday that could (will) impact our children. Are you seriously suggesting that the school be closed every time there is an incident of some sort?
I'm failing to see how this situation, an overnight break-in, has any impact whatsoever on the safety of the school. As in none. Zero. Nada. What I keep reading (interpreting really) is that the school should have been closed because some of us feared that, instead of stealing goods as is the case in the vast majority of break-ins, the intruders *may* have left something behind with the intention to cause harm. Maybe. Perhaps. Possibly.
So sorry, but fears alone should not get to dictate what should or should not happen. That's what information is used for, making decisions, not fear alone. Now if there is important information that backs up the concerns, present them to the school board so that appropriate actions can be taken. But to close the school because of a fact-less, baseless fear? I'd hope that most would agree and think that's a bit much.
It depends on the incident, the concern, and the response. Maybe’s, possibly’s should be ruled out and the process should be professional. One man’s perceived fear is another’s prudent response. But guessing it’s gonna be OK based on national statistics is just that; an estimate, a guess. Nothing replaces knowing. And without an audit of what occurred, the response, the conclusions, we just don’t know, and while the stats say no big deal, the fact remains that two people went undetected for 45 minutes and the all clear was decided muchly based on some janitorial reviews. For example, an audit might determine the potential of this event happening during the school day. You’re statistics can’t answer that now, can they?
I don’t know about others, but when things go off center, I always assess the facts, the root cause to determine improvements. Sure, I know the stats, but I want to know what happened to throw it off center. Whenever we finish a project at work, we debrief to determine the good, bad, and ugly. No different here. The fact that statistics say probably no danger is really not even the point, is it? That’s not fear talking, that’s just being vigilant, prudent, safe
If you want 24/7 secure facilities, donate "your monies" ( all of you with children in school ) to convert all the building to "prison like" facilities ...or be responsible and home school your children.....or....send them to private school.
THIS IS NOT part of education that any taxpayer signed up for.
Just my opinion .
It’s not unreasonable to question why the police didn’t respond to the alarm, why whatever door/hatch whatever was left open, the quality of the “sweep”, the communication, or lack thereof, with the parents in the morning when they knew there was a break in.
It’s easy to criticize the concerns of the parents now because the guys were caught and deemed harmless but a lot of decisions were made before any intentions were known. Two guys wearing masks broke into an elem school in the middle of the night, stole nothing, damaged nothing and walked in and out of classrooms for 45 min. You don’t have to be a triggered snowflake to find it wildly suspicious.
Nobody has suggested armed guards, machine gun turrets on the roof or an anti missile defense system. Maybe just an assessment of the security system, a response from the police when an alarm goes off, and better discretion from the administration.
We need you to go to the board meeting and read that exact statement.
I promise I will stand up and clap after you are done.
Ps..so weird that I have to call you Dad ;-)
“Nobody has suggested armed guards, machine gun turrets on the roof or an anti missile defense system.”
No, but they did jump right to bombs going off which would lead to an easy justification for those kinds of things. Personally, I’m surprised anthrax wasn’t suggested, resulting in mandatory use of biohazard gear. The folks currently selling bullet-resistant backpacks better pay attention!
“Maybe just an assessment of the security system, a response from the police when an alarm goes off, and better discretion from the administration.”
99% sure everyone in the thread agrees. Just wish we could get there without all the speculative drama...
Leave a Reply
To comment on this topic, fill out the form below. If you would like to comment directly to one person, you may click on the envelope next to the posters name if they provided their email.