To the editor:
(re: “Sorry, but I’m not going to quit,” July 4)
In a reply to my June 20 letter (re: “Dinowitz should quit”), Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz made asinine comments about strengthening local school security, and leveled a personal attack on my credentials as an informed citizen.
I’m a moderate liberal. My political hero is Bobby Kennedy.
I’m not a right-wing wacko as Dinowitz suggests. I’m a retired journalist/editor honored by the New York State Associated Press Association for feature writing.
While I’m not a policeman or an education department employee, I’m a well-read voter (and grandparent) who believes school doors should be closed, visitor IDs should be checked, and guests be monitored by video cameras at front entrances.
In light of the school shooting epidemic, it’s a common sense solution favored by school educators and parents I’ve spoken to over the past months, in addition to security experts seen on television.
Most church-affiliated schools and day care centers follow such protocols.
I don’t advocate arming school guards or installing metal detectors.
How would such a closed front-door policy negatively impact elementary school children in the classroom?
This is Dinowitz’s dumb assertion in his recent letter.
Rather than making children uncomfortable, you would think it would make their parents feel more secure. School security expert/lecturer Brad Spicer gets to the essence of this issue:
“Protecting our schools is incredibly complex and tragically imperfect. As school leaders look to enhance access control, it is important they understand the primary purposes of a secured main entrance. In the simplest of terms, the purposes are prevention and mitigation.
“A secure entrance can prevent unauthorized entry by presenting a more positive security image. When prevention fails, the entrance should mitigate an intruder’s ability to enter the school. This should create a delay that provides staff time to call 911 and implement intruder response plans.”
Dinowitz’s representative dismissed this idea, said nothing could be done, and was indifferent to measures that might thwart a determined shooter. Dinowitz backs his staffer despite what only could be classified as a heartless reply. If there is a taped transcript of the phone conversation, it would support my claim of employee incompetence 100 percent.
Dinowitz appears blind to issues of public safety. He did nothing in 2017-18 when the lights went dark on the West 236th Street highway footbridge and portions of the road. Did he ever walk the bridge at night?
It took one citizen’s action via coverage by The Riverdale Press to get ConEd to put the lights back on. Without public shaming or negative press, politicians like Dinowitz rarely act.
His refusal to apologize for his employee’s callous response echoes President Trump’s despicable style, and proves Dinowitz is unfit to serve the public.