The East Hampton School Board voted Tuesday to hire five more security guards, completing a round of recruitment that will see a total of seven current “paraprofessionals” — who monitor hallways, doorways, and other key areas — transition into more formal public-safety roles.
Adam Fine, East Hampton’s superintendent, said this week that the new guards will work in conjunction with Pondview Security, a local provider of security services, to keep the district’s three campuses safe. The new positions fall under Civil Service provisions, and the future guards are taking safety courses to complete the hiring process.
“Larger districts would have brought in all retired police officers. In central Suffolk they’re getting those guys,” Mr. Fine said. “We don’t have the pool. Pondview is using retired police officers for that, and internally we have school resource officers and, now, our own security force to monitor things that go on in the school and know our kids and procedures.”
The new guards, like the Pondview security team, will not be armed, Mr. Fine said. “The police are here, and they are armed. The school resource officers are armed. They have always been. We just never wanted to go that route.”
The new guards, rather than the Pondview team, will be stationed at the school entrances, checking visitors’ identification and allowing them to access the building.
“It gives us consistency and peace of mind,” Mr. Fine said. “We now have more dependable people in our building. . . . These are people who have been in the district for years.”
The transition of the seven paraprofessionals to security guard roles is expected to be cost-neutral, as they were already working for the district. According to Tuesday’s school board agenda, the guards’ salaries start at $37,254 for new hires and go up to about $65,000 for those with many years of experience.
“It’s a win-win for us,” Mr. Fine said.