SSCSD Board of Education Meeting Notes (SEEN)
District Safety Workshop
July 28, 2022 @ 5:30pm
Notes by Rebecca Lynch
Read the Meeting Agenda.
Community Members Present: Erin Leary, Rebecca Lynch, Lara Watro, Jennifer Taylor, Jessica Todtenhagen
Presentation by DERT (District Emergency Response Team)
- DERT Teams – Incident Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance/Administration
- In addition to DERT, each building has a BERT (Building Emergency Response Team).
- DERT supports the building level teams in emergencies or drills, as requested, and is a resource for all buildings
- Prevention and Proactive Measures – creating a healthy school community
- Social-emotional support network, community and school mental health partnerships, schoolwide presentation, supporting students every day, professional development
- See Something/Say Something. Safe Schools Helpline (also an app), threat assessment recognition and training, SEL curriculum (i.e., Second Step), Fire and Emergency Drills
- Legacy Project and Facilities Funded Safety Improvements
- Secure vestibules with dividers
- New districtwide video-surveillance system with high-resolution cameras in key areas
- Raptor Visitor Management System
- Classroom visibility film for lockdowns to create shaded areas
- Internal and external warning devices for lockdown signaling
- Alyssa’s Law – signed by Governor Hochul in June
- Districts need to consider installing silent panic alarms
- We are working with vendors to find the best solution
- SSCSD Security Assessment done by NYSIR in ’18-‘19
- Working to start a new assessment this school year
- Evaluates 15 areas of vulnerability
- Saratoga is at the forefront for school safety compared to other districts in our region
- Role of the SRO (Glenn Barrett)
- Fostering relationships with students and the community
- To be visible and patrol buildings and campus
- Acts as a mentor to students and works together with school staff, finds it very personally rewarding
- DERT Community Outreach
- Presentations on safety for community groups and annual BOE Safety Presentation
Questions from Board Members
- CW: What is the context for Alyssa’s Law?
- A: It was named after a student killed in Parkland. The thought was that if help had arrived sooner, she (and other students) might have survived.
- CW: What is the response time for law enforcement to get to a building?
- A: The nationwide average is 3 minutes. For Saratoga, it depends on numerous factors, including the location of the building, the time of day, availability of officers, and where they are located when the call comes in.
- NL: Regarding mental health professionals, why does Caroline not have the same number of social workers as the other elementary schools?
- A: There is less of a need there. If that changes, they would reassess.
- NL: Are the drills we do required by the state?
- A: Yes, but we also do more than what is required.
- JE: What is the response time for the EMT/Fire department?
- A: It’s the same as for law enforcement, it varies based on availability and what the scenario is.
- DK: He feels fortunate to be part of DERT and loves hearing that we have social workers and psychologists, and that we are a leader. In terms of SROs, what is the impediment to having a uniformed officer in each building?
- A: It is the cost, and also what the role and need is at the elementary schools. The elementary building principals have said that there isn’t a need to have a full time SRO at their building. Most districts don’t have an SRO in every building. Shen has 3 SROs total for the district, and BH-BL has 1 total for the district.
- DK: Let’s continue to be a leader and continue having this conversation to have an SRO in every building.
- MP: We’re lucky to have SROs from 2 agencies (PD and Sheriff) and that strengthens our program. We always invite officers to stop into the buildings when they can. The principals aren’t looking for a full-time SRO and would rather have periodic check-ins and visits. Grounds Monitors are also available to help when needed.
- Amanda: How many threats did we have this year, and how did that compare to previous years?
- MP: We’ve had less than 5 this year. It’s more than previous year, which is the trend all over. We are moving away from threat assessment and going more toward behavioral intervention and prevention.
- Amanda: Have the faculty and staff been surveyed regarding SROs to see if they feel like they would be safe and supported in a shooter situation?
- MP: No, we have not done that.
- CW: If a student submits something through the SafeSchools app, how quick is the response time?
- A: If it’s life-threatening, it would be immediate.
- CW: Why are the license plate readers only at the MS and HS? The elementary schools are vulnerable and have nothing.
- A: All buildings are getting better cameras which would be able to see license plates when necessary.
- Jim Montagnino: Regarding SROs at the elementary schools, if the board wants to have that conversation, he would love to. The city is ready and willing to do that. Cost would be a question, but if the board is interested, we could try to work it out.