The Eastchester Union Free School District is reviewing all of its safety protocols in the wake of the tragey in Newtown. School District Superintendent Maryilyn Terranova has released the following information concerning their efforts:
In light of the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, I would like to briefly review the Eastchester School District safety plans and procedures. These plans were created in 2001 pursuant to the New York State Schools Against Violence in Education (S.A.V.E.) legislation. The District’s comprehensive approach to school safety includes a balance of education, effective prevention and intervention, discipline, security and crisis prevention preparedness. The safety of our students and staff is paramount. The District-wide School Emergency Response Plan and the individual building Emergency Response Plans respond to the need to handle emergencies in an expeditious and effective manner.
The District has worked closely with police, fire, EMS and government agencies to develop these plans. The Eastchester Police Department has officers that are trained to deal with a situation such as the one that occurred in Newtown. They have floor plans of every school and are familiar with the building layouts. We are reviewing our procedures to be sure that there is strict adherence to the safety rules in place.
Some of the protocols already in place include the following:
• Schools have a designated single point of entry for all visitors. Visitors must identify themselves and state the purpose of their visit. Authorized visitors will be allowed to enter the building and must sign in with the front door monitor.
• The doors to all elementary schools are locked at all times. There is a single unlocked door on the High School/Middle School campus. This door is used by students, staff and visitors. The District is exploring the feasibility of locking this door as well, requiring that anyone entering the school be admitted by the monitor.
• Parents wishing to visit the school should provide prior written notice to the main office or to teachers.
• All staff must wear their district issued identification badges at all times. • All schools are equipped with multiple surveillance cameras (exterior and interior).
• The schools all have practice safety drills throughout the year, including practice lock downs.
This week, each building is reviewing protocols to ensure that they are functional and being properly carried out. There may be additional staff members assigned to the front door to assist during this week because of the many holiday events taking place. There will be police presence at all schools this week as well. In addition, our staff members are alert to student concerns in the aftermath of this tragedy.
Administrators, teachers, counselors, psychologists are available to students and families. We will also be posting resources on the district web site to help parents address these situations. Central to this plan is the key insight that keeping children safe is a community-wide effort. Our close relationships with our students, parents, police, fire, EVAC, and governmental agencies make our plan an effective one. Our faculty’s common goal, to create an environment where students feel safe and connected, assists us in this effort. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or concerns.
Dr. Marilyn C. Terranova
Superintendent of Schools