District-wide School Safety Plan

Introduction

Emergencies and violent incidents in school districts are critical issues that must be addressed in an expeditious and effective manner. Districts are required to develop a District-wide School Safety Plan designed to prevent or minimize the effects of serious violent incidents and emergencies and to facilitate the coordination of the district with local and county resources in the event of such incidents or emergencies. The district-wide plan is responsive to the needs of all schools within the district and is consistent with the more detailed emergency response plans required at the school building level. Districts are at risk of a wide variety of acts of violence, natural, and technological disasters. To address these threats, the State of New York has enacted the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) law. This component of Project SAVE is a comprehensive planning effort that addresses risk reduction/prevention, response, and recovery with respect to a variety of emergencies in the school district and its schools.

The Herkimer Central School District supports the SAVE Legislation, and intends to engage in a planning process. The Superintendent of Schools encourages and advocates on-going district-wide cooperation and support of Project SAVE.

Plan updated 7-31-2019

Contents

  1. General Considerations and Planning Guidelines
  2. Risk Reduction/Prevention and Intervention
  3. Response
  4. Recovery

General Considerations and Planning Guidelines

Purpose

The Herkimer District-wide School Safety Plan was developed pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17. At the direction of the Herkimer School District Board of Education, the Superintendent of the Herkimer School District appointed a District-wide School Safety Team and charged it with the development and maintenance of the District-wide School Safety Plan.

Identification of School Teams

The Herkimer School District has appointed a District-wide School Safety Team consisting of, but not limited to, representatives of the School Board, students, teachers, administrators, parent organizations; school safety personnel; and, other school personnel. The members of the team and their positions or affiliations are as follows:

  • Zachary Abbe, Middle School Principal
  • Lori Anderson, High School Nurse
  • Robert Nasypany, Groundskeeper
  • Brian Crandall, Board of Education president
  • Michele Gilbert, Board of Education member
  • Scott Petucci, Board of Education member
  • Ryan Orilio, Technology Coordinator
  • Sandhya Farrington, Elementary School Nurse
  • Mary Tomaso, High School Principal
  • Renee Vogt, Elementary Principal
  • Cristi Paragi, Elementary Assistant Principal
  • Adam Hutchinson, BOCES Safety Official
  • Cristi Paragi, Athletic Director
  • Laura Scalise, Teacher/Parent
  • Robert Miller, Superintendent/Chief Emergency Officer

Concept of Operations

  • The district works with each building leader and building safety team to develop the individual Building-level Emergency Response Plans. The district uses the SHELL template procedure as a standard guide in all plans for emergencies.  The building level crisis teams implement the building level plans as appropriate with coordination from the district as appropriate.
  • The plan is developed in conjunction with the district safety team, which includes administration, school nurses, bargaining unit members, board members as well as the BOCES regional safety officer and School Resource officers.  The district posts its safety plan to the district website and holds a hearing annually to provide an opportunity for public feedback and input.
  • The district uses the SHELL template in response to emergencies.
  • The superintendent will be notified by phone or email upon activation of the School Emergency Response Team. The building principal will determine which method is used to notify the superintendent based on the urgency of the emergency.
  • In most emergencies, the school will use its own and local resources to work through the crisis.  In the event of catastrophic events the district would seek logistical and financial support from the county and state to develop a plan to return to normal operation.

Plan Review and Public Comment

  • Pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation, Section 155.17 (e)(3), this plan will be made available for public comment at least 30 days prior to its adoption. The district-wide plan may be adopted by the School Board only after at least one public hearing that provides for the participation of school personnel, parents, students and any other interested parties. The plan must be formally adopted by the Board of Education.
  • Full copies of the District-wide School Safety Plan and any amendments will be submitted to the New York State Education Department within 30 days of adoption.
  • This plan will be reviewed periodically during the year and will be maintained by the District-wide School Safety Team. The required annual review will be completed on or before July 1 of each year after its adoption by the Board of Education. A copy of the plan will be available at the District Office located at; District Office, 801 West German St., Herkimer, NY 13350.

Risk Reduction/Prevention and Intervention

A. Prevention/Intervention Strategies

Program Initiatives

The district uses many methods of improving communication among students and between students and staff, and reporting of potentially violent incidents by students, teachers or other school personnel and visitors to the school including threats by students against themselves, which may include threats of suicide, such as the establishment of:

  • Peer mediation programs,
  • Extended day and other school programs,
  • Established an online anonymous reporting mechanism for school violence and bullying,
  • Implemented a district wide SRO program,
  • Prevention program in collaboration with Herkimer County,
  • DARE Programs,
  • Treaty Programs in conjunction with Catholic Charities,
  • Districtwide social emotional learning programs.

The district will use an annual climate survey to assist in the assessment and effectiveness of the school safety plan.

Training, Drills, and Exercises

  • The district will provide online or in person training annually in multi-hazard school safety procedures for staff and students. The district will conduct 12 emergency training drills annually with 8 occurring in the fall semester and 4 in the spring semester. The district will conduct lock down, lock out, shelter in place, hold in place and evacuation drills as required by regulation.  The district will use these drills to test parent and community communication procedures and may incorporate law enforcement and other emergency service providers into these drills.
  • Building level teams track the drills using an online database and these will create reports that the district level safety team may review.  The district safety team meets in the fall to coordinate and plan for evacuation drills.
  • All hall monitors are teachers or licensed teaching assistants who receive training at the building level for the duties and responsibilities in emergencies. The district’s school resource officers receive training within the law enforcement agency they work for and have building specific responsibilities in emergencies.  The SROs participate in all emergency drills throughout the year.

Implementation of School Security

The district uses single point of entry security protocols during hours of operation.  All visitors to the building must sign in and receive a photo name badge. Further visitors to the building must have an appointment and be escorted to their appointment by an employee. All entrance ways and corridors are monitored by camera as well as many exterior areas of the building. Each building has an SRO assigned to the building by the Herkimer Police Department.

Vital Educational Agency Information

The district uses a district wide student database to maintain accurate student and staff population information. We have a contract transportation arrangement and we meet annually to discuss our transportation requirements. Transportation staff are included in all safety drills involving changes to dismal or arrival of students. The district produces directory each year with contact information for key officials in each school.

B. Early Detection of Potentially Violent Behaviors

The district uses the child study teams in each building to identify students who are struggling in school for a variety of reasons. These teams might identify and refer students for counseling where a more thorough understanding of the underlying dynamics might be clarified. The school resource officers work with staff and students on a see something/say something program where safety issues might be identified and diffused. Our school counselors and social workers also work with staff and students to identify and diffuse safety issues.

C. Hazard Identification

The district has multiple building where hazards could arise: Herkimer High School, Herkimer Elementary School, and the Bus Garage. In addition to these areas the district has athletic facilities in East Herkimer adjacent to the Elementary school, Brookwood park located in the Village of Herkimer and playground areas located at the Elementary facility, the district holds many activities at Harmon Field in Village of Herkimer as well as off-site athletic fields, buses, and off-site field trips. Further the district has many students attending BOCES part or full time as well as students attending other area schools. The building level teams work to develop plans which incorporate the many intricacies which occur within the building regarding student location throughout the day.

Response

A. Notification and Activation (Internal and External Communications)

  • Generally the building principal or superintendent will contact law enforcement in the event of a violent incident.  Other staff may call 911 to contact police in the event they become aware of a violent incident.
  • The internal communication surrounding a disaster or violent situation may use multiple forms of communication including phones, intercoms, email, and radios.  Building level teams and plans includes more specific roles and responsibilities.
  • The district uses an online system to call/text/email parents in the event of an emergency which might impact dismissal or arrival. The district works with its public relations coordinator to use local news outlets and social media to communicate these messages as well.

B. Situational Responses

Multi-Hazard Response

The district’s multi-hazard response plans will follow SHELL for taking actions in an emergencies such as:

  • Threats of Violence
  • Intruder
  • Hostage/Kidnapping
  • Explosive/Bomb Threat
  • Natural/Weather Related
  • Hazardous Material
  • Civil Disturbance
  • Biological
  • School Bus Accident
  • Radiological
  • Gas Leak
  • Epidemic
  • Others as determined by the District-wide School Safety Team

Responses to Acts of Violence: Implied or Direct Threats

Describe the district’s policies and procedures for responding to implied or direct threats of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school. The following types of procedure(s) could be used by the district:

  • Use of staff trained in de-escalation or other strategies to diffuse the situation.
  • Inform Building Principal of implied or direct threat.
  • Determine level of threat with Superintendent/Designee.
  • Contact appropriate law enforcement agency, if necessary.
  • Monitor situation, adjust response as appropriate, include the possible use of the Emergency Response Team.

All staff are trained in protocols for violent or implied violent situations and the district will implement appropriate SHELL procedure.

Acts of Violence

The district will use its code of conduct in response to acts of violence and the following procedures might be used:

  • Determine level of threat with Superintendent/Designee.
  • If the situation warrants, isolate the immediate area and evacuate if appropriate.
  • Inform Building Principal/Superintendent.
  • If necessary, initiate lockdown procedure, and contact appropriate law enforcement agency.
  • Monitor situation; adjust response as appropriate; if necessary, initiate early dismissal, sheltering or evacuation procedures.

Response Protocols

Identify the district’s selection of appropriate responses to emergencies, including protocols for responding to bomb threats, hostage takings, intrusions and kidnappings. The following protocols are provided as examples:

  • Identification of decision-makers
  • Plans to safeguard students and staff
  • Procedures to provide transportation, if necessary
  • Procedures to notify parents
  • Procedures to notify media
  • Debriefing procedures

Arrangements for Obtaining Emergency Assistance from Local Government

The district will obtain assistance during emergencies from emergency services organizations and local government agencies. The following types of arrangements may by the district:

  • Superintendent/Designee in an emergency contacts dispatch point or 911 center for fire or EMS response.
  • Superintendent/Designee contacts the mayor of the village of Herkimer and the supervisor of the town of Herkimer as well as the County Executive.

Procedures for Obtaining Advice and Assistance from Local Government Officials

The district will obtain advice and assistance from local government officials including the county or village officials responsible for implementation of Article 2-B of the Executive Law. These procedures for obtaining advice and assistance from local governments during countywide emergencies could include the following:

  • Superintendent/Designee in an emergency will contact emergency management coordinator and/or the highest-ranking local government official for obtaining advice and assistance.
  • The district has identified resources for an emergency from the following agencies: Red Cross, fire department, police department, MOVAC, medical centers and religious organizations.

District Resources Available for Use in an Emergency

Identify the district resources which may be available during an emergency, which could include the identification of resources, such as facilities, buses and trucks.

Procedures to Coordinate the Use of School District Resources and Manpower during Emergencies

The superintendent or designee is authorized to allow district resources to be used in the event of an emergency. The district superintendent or designee will coordinate the use of district resources including staff assignments and facility use during emergencies.

Protective Action Options

The district will take the following actions in response to an emergency where appropriate: school cancellation, early dismissal, evacuation, and sheltering. Examples of actions could include the following and could be made in cooperation with local emergency responders:

School cancellation
  • Monitor any situation that may warrant a school cancellation – superintendent, town highway supervisor and district facility director.
  • Make determination – superintendent.
  • Automated phone system contacts staff and families.
  • Contact local media – superintendent or designee.
Early Dismissal
  • Monitor any situation that may warrant a school cancellation – superintendent, town highway supervisor and district facility director.
  • Make determination – superintendent.
  • Automated phone system contacts staff and families.
  • Contact local media – superintendent or designee.
Evacuation (before, during and after school hours, including security during evacuation and evacuation routes)
  • Determine the level of threat – Superintendent/Designee.
  • Contact Transportation Supervisor to arrange transportation – superintendent/designee
  • Clear all evacuation routes and sites prior to evacuation.
  • Evacuate all staff and students to pre-arranged evacuation sites.
  • Account for all student and staff population. Report any missing staff or students to Building Principal.
  • Make determination regarding early dismissal – superintendent
  • If determination was made to dismiss early, contact local media to inform parents of early dismissal. The district also uses its Robo calling systems at these times to keep parents and staff informed.
  • Ensure adult supervision or continued school supervision/security.
  • Set up an information center so that parents may make inquires as to the situation.
  • Retain appropriate district personnel until all students have been returned home.
Sheltering sites (internal and external)
  • Determine the level of threat – Superintendent/Incident Commander/Designee.
  • Determine location of sheltering depending on nature of incident.
  • Account for all students and staff. Report any missing staff or students to designee.
  • Determine other occupants in the building.
  • Make appropriate arrangements for human needs.
  • Take appropriate safety precautions.
  • Establish a public information officer to provide information and current status of the situation to parents and other inquiring parties.
  • Retain appropriate district personnel until all students have been returned home.

Recovery

District Support for Buildings

The district will support the building Emergency Response Teams throughout any emergency by providing needed staff and equipment and coordinating with emergency services personnel. The Post-Incident communication and debriefing will be managed by the superintendent or designee.

Disaster Mental Health Services

The district will assist in coordinating with other area agencies and schools to ensure that adequate school counseling services are available post incident for staff, students and families. The district will debrief after any incident to make modifications to the safety plan as necessary to improve the effectiveness and reliability of the plan.

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