In the wake of the Parkland, Florida High School massacre, the Bayonne Board of Education announced that school district and police department recently partnered together to ensure school safety citywide, with one trustee catching heavy flack from attendees.
On Tuesday, a park and patrol program was implemented for the district’s 12 schools, where officers will monitor any suspicious activity within or around the perimeters of each facility, according to Interim Superintendent Dr. Michael Wanko.
Wanko and School Business Administrator Leo Smith discussed several topics including security metal detectors, budgeting towards new safety precautions and collaborating with Public Safety Director Robert Kubert and Mayor Jimmy Davis on assigning a level three police officer to every school building.
Daniel Issac, a Bayonne High School student, spoke openly about safe guarding unlocked doors, renovating the parking lot and classroom desks to prevent any “what if” safety issues.
In lieu of school safety, a main portion of the meeting was directed towards a vote to rename Bayonne High School’s sports facilities: William “Bill” Broderick Tennis Courts and the Rich Korpi Jr. Ice Rink, which was both introduced by new Board of Education Trustee Michael Alonso during a workshop last month.
In the resolution, Alonso claimed the BBOE overlooked the contributions of Dick Savitt, a Bayonne born former tennis player, and instead named the courts after William “Bill” Broderick.
Alonso believes the decision was politically driven since William Broderick is Board President Joe Broderick’s brother.
Bayonne residents weren’t short on words when directing their attention to Alonso, who was recently elected to a three year-term on the board and is considering a run for mayor.
“Exactly two weeks ago today, we had one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history. Last week we had a scare at PHS and [in the] days that followed we had another scare at Henry Harris, my daughter’s school,” began parent Michelle Halsey.
“Yet, after all that has transpired here we are discussing renaming the ice rink to people who have contributed nothing to our community.”
Halsey also mentioned Alonso’s proposal to hire Jack Butchko, his former campaign manager, as a grant specialist to secure additional funding for the district with a base salary of $31,000 per year.
“All that money that you propose being spent should go to improving school safety for all our kids, but unfortunately our schools and children are not your priority,” Halsey added.
Additionally, David Solari called for Alonso’s resignation, while another parent, Jamie Lynn, called him “a cancer to the board of ed” after exchanging a story of buying her daughter a bullet-proof book-bag when reports of a shooting on Feb. 14th left 17 victims dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.