New security protocol for visitors implemented in Kearny schools; Measures follow horrific shooting that took 17 lives in Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Fla.

By Kevin Canessa

The Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., continues to have widespread implications — not just in the Sunshine State, but locally, as well.

In response to the awful carnage that took the lives of 17 people on Valentine’s Day, Kearny Superintendent of Schools Patricia Blood announced a series of changes aimed at beefing up security at all of the district’s schools.

“The safety and security of our students and staff continues to be a top priority in the Kearny School District,” Blood wrote in a letter to members of the community.  “In light of the recent events in our nation, we are piloting a new entry door access protocol … effective Feb. 21, 2018. This protocol currently exists at many schools throughout the State of New Jersey, and we believe it will add an additional layer of security…”

The security measures include the following:

  • No visitors are to enter the building with students during arrival. All visitors to schools will need to have an appointment to enter the building.
  • At the buzzer, it is expected that all visitors will state the purpose of their visit and/or specify with whom they have an appointment.
  • All visitors are required to show photo identification prior to being buzzed into a school.
  • If the appointment is verified, the visitor will be allowed and in must present themselves to the mail office forthwith.
  • Visitors will be required to show ID a second time upon entry and must sign in to obtain a visitor’s pass.
  • Visitors must not hold the door behind them for any other visitors under any circumstances.
  • No one may enter the school to drop off lunches, forgotten homework, etc. A bin will be left outside schools for such purposes.
  • Picking up a child before dismissal will require written permission first. In an emergency, parents must call the school first.
  • Front office secretaries will be required to call the police and notify school administrators a visitor is uncooperative, does not adhere to the aforementioned procedures or becomes threatening in any way.
  • Failure to follow these procedures may result in a lockdown for the safety of the students and staff and the Kearny Police Department may be notified an intruder is in the building.

While Blood acknowledges these new regulations may pose “an inconvenience,” she says she’s certain folks will understand the need for such rules.

“We are saddened by the need to employ this protocol, but the safety of our students and staff must remain our priority,” she said. “Unfortunately, these are the times we are living in, and I am optimistic our visitors will ultimately recognize our need to be as vigilant as possible.”

Blood also invites the community to offer input.

“The district has taken significant steps over the past few months to upgrade and implement improved security measures throughout all of our schools,” she said. “Your suggestions are important and always appreciated.”

To submit suggestions, send an email to


Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.