By Ted Ryan
Change was a popular theme at Smithtown’s board of education meeting July 12. Two new trustees were sworn into office, and the board voted to update the school’s code of conduct regarding strip searches.
Board Members Michael Saidens and Daniel B. Lynch both took the oath after achieving victory at the polls in May.
Both Saidens and Lynch are serving three-year terms that will expire in June 2019.
Lynch, a Nesconset resident, works as a carpenter for the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, where he does indoor and outdoor commercial construction.
Both he and his wife graduated from Smithtown Central School District and they currently have four sons in the district.
“Smithtown is a wonderful community,” Lynch said in a phone interview. “I want it to be that way for my kids as well.”
To familiarize himself with state of his community’s education system, Lynch has been attending Smithtown board of education meetings regularly for two years before being elected as a trustee.
“I’m absolutely looking forward to being a part of the decision making process, so that all children will get an equal education, while being fiscally responsible,” he said.
Saidens and Lynch were not the only ones claiming their positions; James J. Grossane repeated the same oath of office, renewing his role as superintendent.
A unanimous vote was made to re-elect Christopher Alcure as president of the board of education.
Also re-elected during the board of education meeting was Vice President Joanne McEnroy. She was also unanimously voted to stay on as the second in command.
And after the new administration was settled in, the board voted to change the district’s strip search policy.
The board has been discussing changes to the code of conduct since early June, after members expressed concerns with the policy allowing school officials to conduct strip searches when there is “probable cause to believe that there is an emergency situation that could imminently threaten the safety of the student or others.”
At a June 28 meeting, district attorney Eugene Barnosky said Smithtown does not agree with the current policy.
“We don’t conduct strip searches here … there is an anti-strip search, anti-physical search policy in place,” school district attorney said. “That’s always been the policy of this district, and it’s never been violated.”
The vote to expel that section of the code passed, and the school district officially does not support or adhere to any strip searches among their students by school officials.