MORRIS COUNTY — With safety being paramount to Superintendent, Dr. Robert Zywicki, it is no surprise that Mount Olive Public School District has once again ranked as the safest school district in Morris County out of the 41 school districts surveyed. Dr. Zywicki made it clear that “the time and resources dedicated to health and safety are not seen as one time initiatives”, but rather the heart of all initiatives led by Dr. Zywicki and the Mount Olive Board of Education.
The Mount Olive School District continues to lead with full compliance with Alyssa’s Law, numerous panic alarm buttons throughout every school, and a distinct notification system to law enforcement. All facilities are equipped with several visual assistance (strobes) to alert the hearing impaired during an emergency. The district provides armed officers at every school during school hours and after hours, at BOE meetings, during summer school/extended school year, and at events held by outside organizations that take place on BOE property. The district has a full-time Class 3 (School Resource Officer) assigned to the High School. All of the schools are equipped with scanning devices that check visitors prior to gaining entrance to the schools. All district school security staff personnel are all retired police officers and are trained in School Resource Officer Training, CPR, First Aid/Epi-Pen, AED, Stop the Bleed, and CPI (Crisis Prevention Institute).
Mount Olive staff members are trained every year on the security manual for the district and are implementing a district-wide radio project that will enable them to contact the local Police Department directly and where schools can communicate directly with other schools by radio. All security employees wear uniforms along with visible identification cards displayed while they are working. All employees of the district are required to wear identification cards.
Cameras have been an instrumental part of the safety protocols that have made a huge impact on the Mount Olive School District. Not only does every school, bus, and the BOE building all have security cameras, but now as part of a new pilot test, cameras have been installed on the outside of four buses located underneath the stop arm. These cameras are recording continuously and the bus drivers simply press a button if they see any vehicles passing illegally when the bus is stopped. The cameras get a clear shot of the vehicle and license plate in question. That video is sent to James Carifi, the Director of Security for Mount Olive School District, who will petition for a summons for the registered owner of the vehicle, who will eventually be asked to appear in court. Since the implementation of the cameras outside the buses, there have been over 250 violations. The violators will get points on their license and a $500 to $300 fine. Dr. Zywicki and the Mount Olive BOE plan to equip the remaining 72 buses with outside cameras by March of 2022. According to the Director of Security, James Carifi, who is invested in the well being of the students and keeping the children safer, “These cameras have been a difference-maker and a deterrent to motorists, who now think twice before passing stopped school buses and putting children in harm’s way.”
Mount Olive School District continues to provide the safest and most innovative learning environment to all staff and students by prioritizing health and sanitation and meeting and exceeding all of the Covid-19 recommended guidelines.
According to Dr. Zywicki, “MOPD Chief Beecher continues to be an integral part of the safety of our community by continuously having MOPD officers available to support our schools.”
The Mount Olive School District, under the direction of Superintendent, Dr. Zywicki and the Mount Olive Board of Education will continue to prioritize health and safety moving forward, with the goal being to lead by example.
Reprinted from Morris County Focus Magazine, May 2022. Click here to view.