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New Security Guards Start at Pascack Valley Schools

Hillsdale schools and police have been reviewing security procedures.

New security guards had their first day of work at Pascack Valley High School and Pascack Hills High School Monday, according to Superintendent P. Erik Gundersen.

The unarmed guards were recently hired via a contract with U.S. Securities Associates to supervise the front entrance of each school. Other doors to the schools are locked and under surveillance with cameras.

The contract was approved at the Pascack Valley Regional Board of Education's previous meeting.

The fact that the hires were made shortly after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. was just a coincidence, Gundersen previously told Patch. The money for the guards had been inlcuded in the district's budget last year.

The schools are paying about $15 per hour for each guard, who will be on duty from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A total of $36,000 is alloted for the contract, though Gundersen said he did not expect that much would be spent this school year.

Hillsdale Police have been working with both Pascack Valley High School and the borough's public schools to ensure student safety. Police Chief Chip Stalter said at the Hillsdale Council's last meeting that they were continuing lockdown drills that were started after the 1999 school shooting in Columbine, Colo.

Stalter also said he did not believe armed security guards would be necessary.

"We are not in favor of arming anyone in our schools," Stalter said.

At the Hillsdale Board of Education meeting Monday, Superintendent Richard Spirito said the district was continuing to investigate possible security changes, but did not want to rush into anything.

Spirito also noted that the district's current lockdown policies are the same as those recommended by county law enforcement officials.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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