EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 9, 2013

Riley calls Lawrence school safety steps 'well ahead of the curve'


“A lot of parents are concerned about security since the Connecticut tragedy, but I think they also understand we have put a lot of resources into the schools to make them safe,” he said.

At least one School Committee member — James Vittorioso — said he wasn’t convinced that school officials have done everything they can to make the schools safe.

“I don’t think the system has gone far enough,” Vittorioso said. He didn’t elaborate on what he thought was needed. But, he recalled many years ago that his proposal for metal detectors for the schools had been viewed unfavorably.

In addition to safety issues, overall building improvements continue to be a top priority for Riley as he nears the end of his first year as superintendent/receiver.

Christopher Merlino, the School Department’s Director of Facilities and Plant Management, last night updated the School Committee on various building improvement projects:

*Window replacements at the Bruce School.

*Boiler replacements at the Bruce and Breen Schools.

*Replacement of the flooring in the auditorium of the North Common Education Complex.

*Replacement of flooring on the first floor at the Breen School.

Merlino said his department is also taking an inventory of broken windows throughout the district and will be getting security screens installed where needed.

These and other projects will be funded from $780,000 set aside for the School Department’s capital improvement projects, he said.

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