continued Both districts also have security on staff. As a larger district, North Syracuse has a higher security presence (North Syracuse has a student population of around 10,000, while Liverpool’s is closer to 7,400).
“At the high school, we have a full contingent of security guards as well as School Resource Officers [SRO] from the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department,” Keegan said. “They’re uniformed officers, armed with guns and tasers. They’re highly trained. We’re very fortunate to have them on the premises in four of our buildings.”
In addition to the SROs at the high school, there are two more at the junior high, as well as one at each of the middle schools.
Keegan said he’s a “big believer” in the SRO program.
“They don’t miss a thing,” he said. “We’ve got 2,200 kids at the high school and another 1,400 at the junior high. They’re really a worthwhile investment.”
Liverpool, meanwhile, maintains a security presence at the high school, headed by former Clay Police Officer Mike McCarthy.
North Syracuse’s schools are also outfitted with security cameras, which provide a live feed to the district office.
“That way, if there’s an emergency situation, if something like this were to happen, we could get the authorities on the premises right away and they’d be able to look at the video,” Keegan said.
Johns, whose wife is an administrator in nearby Danbury, Conn., said he preferred to pass on the video feed at Liverpool in favor of preventing a problem situation from occurring in the first place.
“They wanted to put in cameras, but I said, ‘I don’t want cameras showing me who’s already in the building. I don’t want to let these people in the building in the first place,’” he said.
Keegan admitted he worried about events like the one in Newtown.
“I’ll be honest, it keeps you up at night. We believe we have a bead on everyone and we’re doing everything we can, but it’s a tall order,” Keegan said. “But I can say with confidence that the North Syracuse Central School District has done everything that is prudent. Every district could do more, but we’ve done all the things that are considered good practices to keep our kids safe.”