Washington Township BOE mulls active shooter protocol

The Washington Township Board of Education. (Special to The Sun: wtps.org/domain/1804)

The recent shooting at a Friday night South Jersey football game prompted Washington Township Board of Education member Ginny Murphy to discuss potential changes in school procedure.

At the Nov. 18 board of education work session, Murphy highlighted the incident as an opportunity for Washington Township Public Schools to better prepare itself for an outdoor active shooter scenario. On Friday, Nov. 15, a shooting at a playoff football game between Pleasantville and Camden high schools left two people injured and a 10-year-old boy succumbed to his injuries on Nov. 20.

“Last month I brought up one of my concerns and I spoke with Mr. Bollendorf in committee about this idea of, what if something happens and they’re outside in the stadium, what is their plan?” Murphy said.

“I think it’s getting more real and I would like to propose to the board that Joe present to us in executive session: Exactly what is the protocol for sporting events or activities on campus?”

Murphy suggested conducting a drill during practice, simulating a game, so coaches and players would know what to do in the event of an active shooter in that situation, much as the district does for active shooter drills inside the building.

No action was specified on the comments, however Murphy requested this to be added to Bollendorf’s list moving forward.

In other news:

  • Assistant Superintendent Jack McGee gave a presentation about the high school student’s ACT scores for 2018-2019. According to McGee’s presentation, 59 students took the ACT. Washington Township students averaged a 22.6 in English, 22.5 in math, 23.7 in reading and 22.7 in science compared to the state average of 24.3, 24, 24.4 and 23.9, respectively, and the national average of 20.2, 20.5, 21.3 and 20.7, respectively.
  • Murphy announced the formation of a residency committee. This committee is for residency issues only and will be chaired by board members Candice Zachowski, Karen Garrison and Ray DiNovi. Julie Kozempel is the alternate member.
  • The board approved the following resignations: Joseph Bilson as day care worker at the high school, Denise Daly as the health assistant at Grenloch Terrace Early Childhood Center and Donna Bivenour as the cafeteria and playground assistant at Bells Elementary School.
  • The board made the following appointments: Michelle L. Innaurato as a specialized instructional assistant at Grenloch Terrace Early Childhood Center, Joanna M. Demitri as a special education assistant at Grenloch Terrace Early Childhood Center, Rita L. Giordano as a specialized instructional assistant at Hurffville Elementary School, Doreen L. Snyder as a clerical assistant at the high school core, Jennifer R. Landrum as a technology support specialist and Mary Francis Marchetti as a job coach at Washington Township High School.
  • Board member Danielle Halpin reported that the business committee met earlier this month and business administrator Janine Wechter issued an update on the 2021 budget process. She said administrators have begun to put their budgets together and, while the state budget calendar is not out yet, it should be similar to last year’s.
  • The district’s engineer, Annina Hogan from Remington and Vernick, will attend the next business committee meeting in regard to a previous meeting’s discussion of adding solar panels, according to a report by Halpin.
  • The next board of education meeting is scheduled for Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Eileen Abbott Central Administration Building. This meeting is open to the public.