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 stand at risk from a wide variety of acts of violence, natural, and man-made disasters. To address these threats, the State of New York has enacted the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) law. Project SAVE is a comprehensive planning effort that addresses prevention, response, and recovery with respect to a variety of emergencies in each school district and its schools.

The Goshen Central School District supports the SAVE Legislation and intends to facilitate the planning process. The Superintendent of Schools encourages and advocates on-going district-wide cooperation and support of Project SAVE.

Section I: Planning Guidelines

Purpose

The Goshen Central School District district-wide school safety plan was developed pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17. At the direction of the Goshen Central School District Board of Education, the Superintendent of the Goshen Central School District appointed a district-wide school safety seam and charged it with the development and maintenance of the district-wide school safety plan.

Identification of Chief Emergency Officer

The Goshen Central School District maintains direct contact with the immediate Supervisor and Chief Emergency Officer of schools whose duties shall include, but not be limited to:

  1. Coordination of the communication between school staff, law enforcement, and other first responders;
  2. Lead the efforts of the district-wide school safety team in the completion and yearly update by September 1st, of the district-wide school safety plan and the coordination of the district-wide plan with the building-level emergency response plans;
  3. Ensure staff understanding of the district–wide school safety plan;
  4. Ensure the completion and yearly update by September 1st, of building-level emergency response plans for each school building;
  5. Assist in the selection of security related technology and development of policies for the use of such technology;
  6. Coordinate appropriate safety, security, and emergency training for district and school staff, including required training in the emergency response plan yearly by September 15th; and
  7. Ensure the conduct of required evacuation and lock-down drills in all district buildings as required by Education Law section 807.

Identification of School Teams

The Goshen Central School District has created a district-wide school safety team appointed by the board of education consisting of, but not limited to, representatives of the school board, teachers, administrators, and parent organizations, school security personnel and other school personnel. The members of the team by title are as follows:

  • Superintendent of School
  • Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, Personnel and Technology
  • Assistant Superintendent for Business
  • Building Administrators
  • Director of Buildings and Grounds
  • Director of Information Technology
  • Director of Pupil Personnel Services
  • Emergency First Responders
  • Faculty and Staff Members
  • School Board Members

Concepts of Operation

  • The district-wide school safety plan is directly linked to the individual building-level emergency response plans. Protocols reflected in the district-wide school safety plan guide the development and implementation of individual building-level emergency response plans.
  • In the event of an emergency or violent incident, the initial response to all emergencies at an individual school is by the building-level emergency response team.
  • Upon the activation of the building-level emergency response team, the Superintendent of Schools or their designee is notified and, where appropriate, local emergency officials are notified.
  • Efforts may be supplemented by County and State resources through existing protocols.

Plan Review and Public Comment

  • This plan shall be reviewed and maintained by the Goshen Central School District district-wide school safety team on an annual basis on or before September 1st of each year. A copy of the plan is available in the Superintendent’s office and on the district’s website.
  • Pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17 (e)(3), this plan was made available for public comment 30 days prior to adoption. The School Board may adopt the plan only after at least one public hearing  that provides for the participation of school personnel, parents, students and any other interested parties.
  • While linked to the district-wide school safety plan, the building-level emergency response plans shall be confidential and shall not be subject to disclosure under Article 6 of the Public Officers Law or any other provision of law, in accordance with Education Law Section 2801-a. The building-level emergency response plans shall be kept confidential and shall not be disclosed except to authorized department staff and law enforcement officers.
  • Full copies of the district-wide school safety plan and any amendments are submitted to the New York State Education Department within 30 days of adoption by posting this public plan on the district’s website. The building-level emergency response plans are supplied to the Goshen Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff, and the NYS Police as required upon adoption.

Section II:General Emergency Response Planning

The district-wide school safety plan provides the framework for the building-level emergency response plans. The purpose of a uniform plan is to ensure district-wide continuity for emergency responses. These general emergency responses are used to assist school employees, students, parents and emergency responders learn one system that can be used in the Goshen Central School District.

A. The district has developed multi-hazard response guides. These guidelines are located in the building-level emergency response plans and are in an ICS (Incident Command System) format. Plans for taking the following actions in response to an emergency where appropriate are, including but not limited to:

  • Shelter-in-Place: Used to shelter students/staff inside the school
  • Hold-in-Place: Used to limit movement of students and staff while dealing with short term emergencies
  • Evacuation: Used to evacuate students/staff from the school/campus/grounds/buses
  • Before, during and after school hours, including security during evacuation and evacuation routes
  • Evacuation/Relocation Sites (internal and external)
  • Lockout: Used to secure school buildings and grounds during incidents that pose an imminent concern outside of the school
  • Lockdown: Used to secure school buildings and grounds during incidents that pose an immediate threat of violence in or on the school campus

Emergencies include, but are not limited to:

Air Pollution
Chemical Threat
Aviation Crash
Bldg. Structural Failure
Bomb Threat
Civil Disturbance
Crimes Against People
Earthquake
Elec. System Failure
Energy Supply Loss
Epidemic
Explosion
Fire Alarm Activation
Flood
Heating System Failure
Hostage Situation
Intruder Situation
Loss of Building
Loss of Buses
Mass Casualty
Medical Emergency
Gas Leak (Propane)
Radiological
Roof Leak/Failure
School Bus Accident
Severe Weather Emergency
Threats of Violence
Water Emergency

B. The district has identified various district resources that may be available for use during an emergency, including the identification of personnel, equipment and shelters.

C. Using the ICS (Incident Command System) the district has identified the school officials authorized to make decisions during an emergency. Through ICS, the procedures to coordinate the use of school district resources and manpower during emergencies are clearly defined. ICS also identifies the staff members and their backups assigned to provide assistance during emergencies.

D. The district has policies and procedures for annual multi-hazard school safety training for staff and students, including strategies for implementing training related to multi-hazards. All staff undergo annual training on their building-level emergency response plan which includes components on violence prevention and mental health. New employees hired after the start of the school year receive this training within 30 days of hire or as part of the district’s existing new hire training program, whichever is sooner. The district certifies that this training is completed during the NYSED BEDS data collection. The following procedures have been established to provide this training on an annual basis to include but not limited to: early dismissal/go home drill, shelter-in-place, evacuation/fire drills, lockout, lockdown, tabletop exercises and Incident Command System training.

E. The district conducts drills and other training exercises to test components of the emergency response plan, including the use of tabletop exercises, in coordination with local, county, and state emergency responders and preparedness officials. A debriefing concludes each test to determine if changes to the plan are necessary.

Evacuation and Emergency Drills: The school district, at least once every school year, and where possible in cooperation with local county emergency preparedness plan officials, conducts one test of its emergency response procedures under its building-level emergency response plan, including sheltering, lock-down, or early dismissal, at a time not to occur more than 15 minutes earlier than the normal dismissal time.

Education Law §§ 807(1-a), 807 (b): Fire and Emergency Drills

The July 2016 amendments expanded fire drill requirements to also include emergency drills to prepare students to be able to respond appropriately in the event of a sudden emergency. The statute now requires twelve drills be conducted each school year, four of which must be lock-down drills, the remaining eight are required to be evacuation drills. There is still a requirement that eight of the required twelve drills must be completed in the first half of the school year. However, the date of completion has been changed from December 1 to December 31 of each school year.

The statute now explicitly requires schools to conduct lock-down drills, which are essential, because they prepare students and staff to respond to the highest level of threat with the most urgent action and the least margin for error. The goal is to have schools conduct drills where they practice their ability to put the building into a protective posture as quickly as possible. These emergency measures allow time for responding law enforcement to arrive on scene and neutralize the threat. If possible, law enforcement should be involved in the drills to help prepare students and staff for their interactions and release from lock-down by uniformed officers. However, law enforcement involvement is not required by the new legislative mandate. Other protective actions such as lock-out or shelter in place are emergency actions that are usually preceded by some degree of warning time and do not require the immediate response necessary for a lock-down. While the school should be well versed in their lock-out and shelter in place protocols, lock-down is the only type of protective action that is specifically required by the statute.

Section III: Responding to Threats and Acts of Violence

A. The school refers to its Crisis Intervention Plan via the post-incident response team and the Multi-Hazard Emergency Response Guides located in the building-level emergency response plan. These are reviewed by the district-wide school safety team to ensure content and consistency throughout the district. These policies and procedures are for responding to implied or direct threats of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school, including threats by students against themselves, which includes suicide. The following types of procedures are addressed in the plan:

  • The use of staff trained in deescalation or other strategies to defuse the situation.
  • Informing the Superintendent or designee of implied or direct threats.
  • Determining the level of threat with the Superintendent and building-level emergency response team members.
  • Contacting appropriate law enforcement agency, if necessary.
  • Monitoring the situation, adjusting the district’s responses as appropriate to include possible implementation of the building-level emergency response team.
  • Communication with parent/guardian. When a student implies or specifically threatens self-inflicted violence including suicide, the school’s administrator(s) or designated staff member directly contacts the respective parents/guardians.

B. The Multi-Hazard Emergency Response Guides in the building-level emergency response plans provide guidance on the district’s policies and procedures for responding to direct acts of violence (i.e., Crimes Against Persons, Hostage Taking, Intruder and Kidnapping) by students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school, including consideration of zero-tolerance policies for school violence. The following types of procedures are addressed in the plan:

  • Inform the Superintendent/designee
  • Determine the level of threat with the superintendent/designee and the building-level emergency response team.
  • If the situation warrants, isolate the immediate area.
  • Monitor the situation; adjust the level of response as appropriate; if necessary, initiate lockdown, evacuation, sheltering and/or early dismissal procedures as needed, if needed.
  • Contact appropriate Emergency Services.

NOTE: The Goshen Central School District Code of Conduct describes policies and procedures for dealing with acts of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school.

C. Response protocols are identified in the Building-level Emergency Response Plans in the ICS format along with definitions of ICS Roles and Responsibilities. The Multi-Hazard Emergency Response Guides address specific procedures for responding to bomb threat, intruders, hostage takings and kidnapping.

D. The following protocols for appropriate responses to emergencies are provided as examples of responses to bomb threats, hostage takings, intrusions and kidnappings:

  • 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.

E. The district has established policies and procedures to contact parents, guardians or persons in parental relation to the students in the event of a violent incident or an early dismissal. In the Monticello Central School District, the following communication methods are used:

  • The Superintendent of Schools or the Public Information Officer will notify the local media of any unplanned event that may result in a change in the regular school day schedule.
  • In addition, it would be prudent to follow the same protocol as above to formulate a press release relative to any other event that may cause any undue panic and/or concern and result in a problematic rush to the school by parents and media.
  • The use of a mass communication, electronic call management system will be employed when available to notify any or all specified groups within the school community of events that could affect that particular group.
  • In the absence of the aforementioned call management system, if a building has established a parental phone tree, they may use that means to inform parents and guardians. Ideally a written script should be used to ensure consistency of message. Phone trees may also be used to compliment the media information being released concurrently.
  • In the event of a violent incident occurring before, during or after a school day, the incident will be immediately reported to the school’s main office. The building principal may issue notice of the incident. Such notice will be mailed to the student’s last known address of record. In the event that written notification may not be practical, notification would occur via radio or a television broadcast.

Section IV: Communication with Others

The District-wide School Safety Plan provides the framework for the Building-level Emergency Response Plans.

A.  The Goshen Central School District is fortunate to have substantial ties to the Village of Goshen Police Department and to Orange County. If there were to be an emergency within our facility, that facility would call 911 for emergency assistance. If involvement is needed from other local government agencies, then the Superintendent or designee would act as that contact person. Additional procedures for communications can be found in the Building-level Emergency Response Plans including local emergency contacts and phone numbers. These contacts provide guidance for obtaining assistance during emergencies from emergency services organizations and local government.

B.  Arrangements for obtaining advice and assistance from local government officials including the county or village officials responsible for implementation of Article 2-B of the Executive Law is carried out through the protocols established in the NYS/BOCES Communication Flow Chart.

C. If there is a disaster within the district that has the potential to impact other educational agencies within the district boundaries, the Superintendent of Schools (or it’s designee) activates the School Messenger system.

D. Along with the school messenger, the district has access to the following information about each educational agency located in the school district, including information on:

  • School population
  • Number of staff
  • Transportation needs
  • Business and home telephone numbers of key officials of each such educational agency.

Section V: Prevention and Intervention Strategies

The District-wide School Safety Plan provides the framework for the Building-Level Emergency Response Plans.

A. The district has developed policies and procedures related to school building security, including, where appropriate:

School Security Officers: The District employs security (SSO) personnel to assist school administration in dealing with all manners of security and safety issues. The primary role of the SSO is to assist in safeguarding the District’s students, staff and visitors from harm; to deter, detect, respond to, and report infractions of the Code of Conduct and New York State Law; and to protect the District’s assets from theft and damage. School Security Officers are retired police officers employed by the Village of Goshen Police Department and are authorized to carry out this role pursuant to applicable policies, regulations and training.

Limited Access: Each School building is tasked with implementing this procedure while tailoring it to the specific needs of their building. Generally, this means that the fewest exterior doors necessary to maintain normal business will remain unlocked during the regular school day. Those doors that remain unlocked during the school day – main entrance only – will be monitored.

All of the district’s schools utilize a video/audio electronic access control system at their main entrances that provides a means to remotely screen and approve visitors prior to granting access to the locked building.

Staff Photo Identification badges: All employees are issued Photo Identification Badges that are required to be displayed at all times while on school district property to assist visitors, students and staff in identifying employees as well as possible intruders.

Visitor policy: An approved visitor will complete a sign-in procedure and will be issued an approved visitor pass upon gaining access to the building. At each school this is accomplished through the use of a visitor management software system.

Video Surveillance: A digital video surveillance system is in service at schools and facilities to assist in monitoring, deterring and recording activity in areas of chronic concern or perceived vulnerability. Designated security staff is trained on how to access, view, search and recover images.

Fire Alarm: A fire detection alarm that is linked to a central monitoring station is in service at every school and facility. These alarms and our fire response procedures are tested regularly consistent with NYSED regulations.

B. The Goshen Central School District has implemented procedures for the dissemination of informative materials regarding the early detection of potentially violent behaviors, including, but not limited to: the identification of family, community and environmental factors to teachers, administrators, parents and other persons in parental relation to students of the school district or board, students and other persons deemed appropriate to receive such information.

The District recognizes the importance of early recognition and intervention into conflicts and potentially violent or threatening behaviors. Students, their parents, and all staff are encouraged to share information regarding any student conflicts, threats or troubling behaviors with the appropriate school administrator so that an assessment or investigation can commence in a timely fashion if deemed necessary. This communication may extend beyond Goshen CSD personnel to include members of the District’s Threat Assessment Team, Law Enforcement, Mental Health Professionals, etc. when deemed appropriate and within existing legal parameters.

The District recognizes the importance of programs and activities that improve communication throughout the school community and that encourage the reporting of potentially dangerous, suspicious or violent behavior. Such efforts serve to improve the security, safety and quality of life for all those in the Goshen school community. The following is a partial list of such current initiatives.

  • School Counselors provide topic specific short-term counseling for individuals and groups;
  • School Social Workers provide crisis service counseling
  • Academic Support Services
  • Conflict Resolution programs are coordinated at the building level
  • Peer Mediation programs are used to decrease incidents of referrals and/or school suspension
  • Responsive Classroom
  • Buddy Benches
  • Cyberbullying Awareness
  • Rachel’s Challenge/Friends of Rachel Club

Building-level administrators process and disseminate information across the District regarding bullying prevention, identification, and reporting requirements. All District staff have been provided with information and training regarding the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA). The District employs school psychologists, social workers, and school counselors who have been trained to assist in identifying the warning signs of bullying and to intervene in order to prevent further bullying and help students to come to resolutions.

Building-level administrators are also working to develop interventions and solutions for students who are identified as victims of bullying and harassment. The District website contains information for parents about the Dignity for All Students Act, names and contact information for District and building DASA Coordinators for the District and within each building, and a link to the Dignity Act Complaint Form.

The Code of Conduct contains language that specifically addresses bullying and harassment. Students who engage in bullying and harassment behaviors receive progressive interventions, which can range from use of mediation or informal and formal counseling to referral for outside mental health services and other community agencies. When bullying or harassment is persistent or severe in nature, disciplinary measures are taken to ensure the safety of all students. Restorative practices are used, in lieu of punitive disciplinary measures when dealing with bullying and harassment whenever possible. These practices assist students and families in connecting with outside resources.

Prevention and Intervention Strategies:

Informal and formal counseling
Mediation
Compliance with DASA regulations
Training for paraprofessionals, and other school personnel
School Based Support Team
Extracurricular activities
Responsive classroom and other pro-social skills curricula taught in classrooms
PBIS, and other school-wide positive behavior systems
Character Education
Bullying prevention programs and assemblies for students
School counseling
Comprehensive Classroom Management Plan
Curriculum addressing emotional health and healthy relationships
The posting of signage promoting anti-bullying, equity, and appreciation of diversity
Outside psychiatric and psychological consultation

C.  Appropriate prevention and intervention strategies as noted above.

D. The district has created and supported strategies for improving communication among students and between students and staff for the reporting of potential incidents as noted above.

E.  The Goshen Central School District has descriptions of duties, hiring and screening process, and requirements for the training of school security personnel to perform hall monitoring duties.

Section VI: Recovery

Recovery addresses for help needed for all involved to heal and to restore the school community to “normal” operations. The District Plan supports the school building plans by deploying district resources that support the schools building-level emergency response team and the post-incident response team.

Recovery plans include mental health/emotional recovery, academic, physical and business recovery, and can continue long after the actual emergency.

A.  District Support for the Goshen Central School District

The Building-level Emergency Response Plan provides resources for supporting the building-level emergency response team and post-incident response team.

The district realizes that some emergencies may overwhelm an individual school’s ability to manage an extreme crisis. If/when the school is faced with an emergency such as threats of violence or actual violent incidents, the district-wide school safety team assists as follows:

  • Acting as a sounding board regarding the implied or direct threats and/or violent acts.
  • Assisting in determining the level of threat and appropriate response.
  • Monitoring the situation and adjusting the district’s response as appropriate.
  • Assisting with parent/guardian, faculty/staff, and media communication.
  • Assisting with coordinating building and grounds security in conjunction with local and State Police.
  • Assisting with offering a backup post-incident response team (i.e., another school district’s team and/or an outside group) as needed, if needed.
  • Offering debriefing sessions as needed working in conjunction with local, Sullivan County and/or State emergency responders.

B.  Disaster Mental Health Services

If/when a building-level emergency response team or post-incident response team is faced with an emergency that may overwhelm the school’s ability to manage an extreme crisis; the district-wide school safety team assists as follows:

  • Activating the district-wide post-incident response team in the form of Pupil and Personnel Services, Guidance Counselors, Social Workers, Nurses, etc.
  • Offering district support and looking for continued feedback from those directly impacted during the incident, with projected plans to assist if needed during heightened stressful times such as a re-occurrence of a similar event and anniversaries of the original event.
  • Assisting with parent/guardian, student, and faculty/staff debriefing and/or post-incident crisis intervention. The debriefing is also used in part to evaluate the district’s plan for possible revisions. If needed, assisting in contacting additional outside mental health resources such as the National Organization for Victim Assistance (1-800-try-nova;  www.try-nova.org).
  • Assisting the schools with written statements going out to faculty/staff, parents/guardians, press releases and media requests through the Superintendent of Schools (or it’s designee).
  • The district supports the recovery phase and reevaluates current multi-hazard and violence prevention practices and school safety activities.