Dear South Colonie Parents/Guardians:
The incident in Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was a terrible tragedy and our heartfelt sympathy continues to go out to that entire school community.
As a school district, one of our primary concerns is always the issue of student and staff safety. When a tragedy occurs, it reminds us to review the protocols we currently have in place and assess what may be improved upon moving forward. Immediately following this situation, our Safe Schools Committee members, Colonie Police Department representatives, and local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel met to review our current practices related to school safety.
This comprehensive team meets on a monthly basis year-round to provide support and technical guidance in regard to all matters related to keeping our schools safe. As a result of their immediate recommendations, we are reviewing current safety procedures at building and district levels. Overall, strong protocols have been in place for numerous years, but we all know reminders are extremely important.
As you would expect, school safety changes have been ongoing over the last few years with additional adjustments in process now. Some of the recent changes and highlights include:
- Installation of buzzer/video entrance systems at all buildings
- Digital security camera systems – inside and outside (installation and/or expansion is planned for all buildings)
- ID check-in systems at the secondary level (system is being piloted this year)
- Revision of District-wide School Emergency Plans
- Revision of building-level School Emergency Plans
- Staff training in crisis management – identifying students who may need additional levels of support
- Numerous student drills to adapt to various scenarios
- Increased Social Worker and Mental Health services support
- Successful alternative programs
- Active and ongoing communication and collaboration with the Colonie Police Department, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and local Fire Departments
- Implementation of employee badges and shirts with school colors and logos
While not necessarily a focus in the media, we believe the next step for everyone in our school community is to be diligent in regard to different types of threats when we see or hear any warning signs. The threat could be something which is seen on social media or something which is heard in a conversation. Regardless of where the information comes from, if you see or hear something – say something.
The following phone numbers are available for your use:
- Colonie Police Department – Non-Emergency: (518) 783-2744
- Colonie Police Department – Emergency: 911
- South Colonie Central School District: (518) 869-3576
Additionally, parents, students, and community members can always share information with any School Administrator, or school employee. Strategic safety plans and emergency protocols are certainly important, but close communication and knowing our students and school community is just as critical. We all want the very best learning environment possible for our South Colonie children and we thank you in advance for reviewing this important information.
Please do not hesitate to contact the District Office at (518) 869-3576 should you have any questions.
- Edward F. Sim, President, Board of Education
- Jonathan M. Teale, Chief of Police, Town of Colonie
- Jonathan W. Buhner, South Colonie Superintendent of Schools
- David J. Perry, Ph.D., Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Safe Schools and Information Technology