Recap: Roundtable brings community together to discuss safety and communication concerns

On Friday, Nov. 18, several members of the school community gathered at the district’s first-ever Roundtable Discussion to address school safety and communication.

What is a Roundtable Discussion?

A roundtable discussion is an organized conversation where participants share ideas and perspectives about specific topics. A roundtable has a moderator to ensure that the discussion stays on track and that all participants are on equal footing.

At the start of the roundtable, participants agreed that recent threats against our schools, whether via mobile devices or social media, are alarming and disruptive. Under the guidance of moderator Alyssa Teribury of the Capital Region BOCES Communications Service in Albany, the group addressed the following three questions that served as the conversation’s framework and guiding principles:

  1. What are the characteristics of a safe and productive school learning environment?
  2. What do you value most about district and school communication?
  3. What next steps would you like to see?

What was discussed at the Roundtable?

Many shared their insights and experiences with recent events and the school environment in general. The discussion included concerns about building security, consistency with communication between buildings, passive attitudes toward safety issues such as lockdowns or overdoses, smoking and vaping in the school bathrooms, mental health and social-emotional learning, ways to reach students about the effects of drug use and threatening posts/texts, and procedural trainings for students, staff and faculty. Ideas on how to combat these issues were also shared and noted by the district.

Many agreed that they appreciate a Goshen education as well as the administrators, faculty and staff. They also agreed that the world is much different for today’s students and schools, and that it can be difficult for educators to navigate ever-changing technology and social media.

Participants said they are comforted by the presence of school resource officers and the strong partnership with the Village of Goshen Police Department, and are appreciative of district programs and committees that are already in place that address social-emotional learning, mental health, and school safety. The conversation also addressed the home-school connection, and the responsibility of parents to reinforce and continue these important discussions at home.

There were various ideas on how to reach students about the importance of personal responsibility and respect, and the seriousness of their actions pertaining to drugs, alcohol, social media, and their contribution to a safe and productive school environment. Some suggested using community members and parents/guardians as a resource for drills and training since a significant percentage of the population is first responders.

What happens now?

District officials are reviewing participant feedback in order to create successful strategies to address school safety, environment, and communication in partnership with our students, parents/guardians, employees, and community.

While the district works to address the concerns raised at the roundtable, some actionable steps are underway:

  • Launching InformaCast
    • InformaCast is an emergency mass notification system that sends critical messages to on-premises devices and mobile users, including digital signage, overhead signage, and laptop computers. Any user is able to send a message quickly and easily. Learn more at
  • Hosting a school security audit to assess what actions must be taken to increase security.
  • Reinforcing building security protocols among faculty and staff members.
  • Working with school social workers and counselors to expand upon community resources and programs to address the consequences of substance use, improper use of social media, and other student-centered topics.

More information will be shared as strategies and initiatives are developed.