HANOVER — South Shore Regional Technical School will be using a $78,000 Executive Office of Public Safety and Security grant to purchase the hardware to replace nine doors at the school with new doors including security access fobs. The School Committee encumbered an additional $594,000 from surplus revenue for safety and security expenses at the school, much of it for the security doors.
“The expectation is that we would be able to set staff [key] fobs for certain windows of time,” Superintendent-Director Thomas J. Hickey said, offering the example of outer gym doors to allow access for weekend practices or games, during the Wednesday, July 17 meeting. “We can tailor it based on the employee and the window of time — and it’s all tracked, of course.”
“That’s essential,” said member Robert Mahoney of Rockland. “You need to know who’s in the building.”
The committee also heard Paul Varley of Whitman speak during the meeting’s public forum on several concerns including; how the school handles bullying complaints, why the school mandates uniforms for shops and sports when a full range of sizes is not available, safety of vehicles in the school parking lot when cameras can’t provide full coverage to detect vandalism and how inclusive the school’s athletic teams are. He also alleges that he has seen fight videos involving students at the school.
“Kids are forced to wear uncomfortable, unsafe and demeaning uniforms or get yelled at for not wearing the proper uniform,” Varley said on behalf of his younger brother, who is a student at the school and stood next to him as he spoke.
Varley said when he was showing a friend the photo of the ill-fitting uniform his brother had to wear to play, the friend said the school mascot — a Viking character nearly identical to that of East Bridgewater High — seemed to be racially insensitive, especially in view of the presence of the school letters SS, for South Shore, on the jerseys.
Committee Chairman Chris Amico said they would note the concerns. He said Varley, who was reading his questions from his phone, could forward them and any photos of uniforms he was concerned about, as well.
No action can be taken by the committee on items brought to members’ attention during public forum, which is intended to bring up items not on the agenda.
“The school district and administration take feedback and concerns very seriously,” Hickey said in a prepared statement Friday, July 19. “Additional information will be gathered, further communication will take place and appropriate actions will be taken in the best interest of our students.”
In other business, the school committee honored Director of Buildings and Grounds Robert Morehead for his work in overseeing the maintenance of the aging school building.
“South Shore is a growing school that wants the best educational environment for its students and staff,” Amico said. “Bob and his staff are a huge reason why we are able to achieve the goal every day.”
Morehead said he felt lucky to have the position for the past 15 years as the school’s administration and school committee have been more supportive of his staff than some of his peers have experienced.
School Committee members, once again, gave Hickey an exemplary rating on his annual evaluation.