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Suffolk County Considers Installing Panic Buttons At Schools

BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Nearly 200 representatives from 37 of Suffolk County's 44 public school districts attended a seminar Wednesday to discuss shootings at schools, universities and other venues across the United States.

Education officials said they are looking for guidance in enhancing their current security strategy in the wake of the shootings at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school.

"Just being ready in the event of a copycat type situation occurred," Huntington Superintendent Jim Polansky said.

Suffolk County Considers Installing Panic Buttons At Schools

Panic buttons which would have a direct connection to police providing a speedier response in the event of an emergency are being considered as part of Suffolk County's school safety strategy.

"We should be doing everything we reasonably can do to implement to protect kids," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said at the conference which was held at Suffolk County Community College. "Anything that reasonably we believe makes sense, we should be doing."

Suffolk County Considers Installing Panic Buttons At Schools

Bellone said the National Rifle Association's recommendation for armed guards at schools is also worth considering.

"The notion that it alone would accomplish protecting our children, I think, is absolutely wrong," Bellone said.

Earlier this month, the Staten Island Community Education Council voted in favor of a plan to hire 300 to 500 retired cops, who would carry concealed weapons and serve as plainclothes security guards while rotating among the city's 1,750 schools.

The board has power to make a recommendation to the larger New York City Department of Education, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott have the final say, and neither favors the plan.

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