02/11/14 10:27am
02/11/2014 10:27 AM
Storyteller and teaching artist Queen Nur in Greenport Friday. | Rachel Young

Storyteller and teaching artist Queen Nur in Greenport Friday. (Rachel Young photo)

“Everybody has their own rhythm and everybody has their own style — and that’s what makes America so beautiful.”

That’s what nationally renowned storyteller and teaching artist Queen Nur told students from Greenport and Oysterponds elementary schools Friday during a performance celebrating Black History Month.

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12/31/12 1:45pm
12/31/2012 1:45 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Greenport school board member Michael Mazzaferro said Dec. 19 he believes every school should have armed security.

A Greenport school board member wants the district to hire armed security to avoid tragedies like the Dec. 14 elementary school shooting in Connecticut where 27 people were killed — including 20 children and the gunman.

During the Greenport Board of Education’s Dec. 19 monthly meeting, board member Michael Mazzaferro said he has believed armed security is needed in schools since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colo., which left 15 people dead, including 12 students, a teacher and both gunmen, who committed suicide following the nearly 22-minute rampage.

“I think every school should have armed security,” Mr. Mazzaferro said. “Most shootings happen in gun-free zones because the shooter knows they will be successful and no one is going to stop them.”

Currently, the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District is the only district in Southold Town that has security, with one unarmed guard. Southold Town police officials said school districts can hire certified-trained armed security.

Although other Greenport board members didn’t express whether or not they were in favor of hiring armed security, they agreed with member Tina Volinski’s suggestion to continue its discussions about improving student safety.

“That’s something we’ll have to figure out now that it’s budget time and see what we can afford,” she said.

The armed-security discussion came five days after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza blasted his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School with a .223-caliber rifle. That school is located 60 miles northeast of New York City. According to media reports, the shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza, had worked at the school and was reportedly the 28th victim, found shot to death in her home.

The event is the nation’s second-deadliest school shooting, after the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., in which a gunman killed 32 people and then himself.

Following the National Rifle Association announcement on Dec. 21 that it wants Congress to fund armed officers in every American school, some school leaders have called for more gun control.

State education commissioner John King described NRA’s comments as “nothing but a distraction.”

“The epidemic of gun violence — particularly against young people — all across the United States calls out for common sense gun control and a more thoughtful response to the mental health needs of our citizens,” Mr. King said in a statement.

According to the Associated Press, some anti-gun advocates have said adding armed security isn’t the answer since an armed sheriff’s deputy assigned to Columbine High School the day of the massacre and Virginia Tech’s police force were unable to stop the violence.

Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley has said his department is meeting with school officials and Suffolk County law enforcement to review lockdown, safety and emergency procedures. Greenport Superintendent Michael Comanda said the district’s SAVE committee, formed under the guidelines of the federal Safe Schools Against Violence in Education program, will hold a meeting on Wednesday to discuss improving safety measures. The meeting is closed to the public, he said.

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10/24/12 11:52am
10/24/2012 11:52 AM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Greenport school superintendent Michael Comanda is expected to discuss capital improvement plans tonight.

The Greenport school board is expected to discuss capital improvement plans during its monthly meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in room 126.

According to tonight’s agenda, Bill Wisbauer of Tetra Tech Architects and Engineers will give a presentation about current and future capital projects.

In December, the school unveiled its restored auditorium that cost $557,000. Work on the circa-1932 facility involved replacing the roof, repairing the leaky ceiling and replacing portions of the stage that buckled due to water damage. A new sound system and more stage lighting were also installed, all 625 seats are back to their original luster and eight handicapped-accessible seats have been added.

The auditorium project was part of an $8 million project approved by voters last December. Some tasks have already been completed, such as replacing two close to 40-year-old manually controlled boilers with new computerized and energy-efficient models.

Scroll down to view the complete agenda. Read more in the Nov. 1 issue of  The Suffolk Times in both our print and electronic editions.

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Greenport Board of Education agenda, Oct. 24, 2012