School board discusses security changes, attendance policy, budget

— The Cazenovia Board of Education met Monday, Feb. 4, to make up the Jan. 28 meeting that was cancelled due to snow. The meeting included a report from David Hazer on safety measures taken after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., a discussion of the revised attendance policy from high school principal Eric Schabl and some preliminary budget discussions.

“Our focus is the school day,” Hazer told the board, explaining that the tightest security had been implemented during the hours when classes are in session. “We try not to inconvenience people. Even though we had single points of access before the Newtown experience, afterwards we added card readers at the main entrance and the parking lot entrance with cards for all our faculty and staff. At those points we also have cameras and intercoms with door releases. Simply push a button and you’ll be in contact with the office. Because there is a camera involved they can make an assessment and ask questions before pushing a button to allow the door release.”

Hazer commented that essentially these measures were not a complete change, but rather an “improvement on what we already had.”

Hazer went on to describe the next step in the school’s security efforts. “We still have concerns with people blocking the door open. So our next focus is education so people realize when you do that and you’re not there at the door, the door is basically open to anybody,” he said.

Principal Schabl presented a reformed attendance policy that was put in place for this academic year.

“The only acceptable reason for being late to school is a scheduled health appointment, required court appearance, college visit or extreme emergencies,” Schnabl said. “If a student misses school for a doctor’s appointment, he or she must provide a doctor’s note upon returning to school. This is something we put in place after taking a look at some of the data over the years and we began to see a steady increase in use of the ‘health late’ excuse to prevent not so much a legal tardy but from what we were hearing from students and parents it was used to circumvent the extracurricular code of conduct.”

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