In light of the mass murder of 17 students and faculty at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland
Livingston County News - 4/10/2018
In light of the mass murder of 17 students and faculty at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. in February and the March 8 death of Trevyan Rowe, a 14-year-old autistic student in the Rochester City School District who wandered away from school, drowned in the Genesee River and wasn't reported absent by teachers, Geneseo Central Schools is implementing new measures designed to make students and staff as safe as possible.
In an April 6 letter to parents, since posted to the district's website, Superintendent Tim Hayes alluded to both incidents, citing "recent tragedies both nationally and regionally" that "have heightened our attention on these issues in our District."
As a result of these incidents, the district has made "some significant enhancements to our school safety and security procedures and hardware," said Hayes.
A breakdown of the changes is outlined below.
* New attendance calling procedures: Daily attendance is taken immediately at the start of the school day. Past practice was to check whether absent students had been reported as absent through a parent call or email. This took between 30 to 60 minutes depending on the number of absences and other issues that could take time away from our nurses as they engaged in the attendance process. Beginning after spring break, the call regarding absent students will take place immediately after attendance is reported. This will typically occur between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m. A phone call will be made regardless of whether a student has been reported as absent by his or her family.
* School Safety Tip Line: A tip line is being established to allow anonymous reporting of school safety issues. The number for the Tip Line is (585) 243-1183. There will also be an online form on the district's website under the "Quick Links" tab. For any emergency, 911 or a school office should always be called. However, if there is a concern regarding the safety and security of Geneseo schools, it can be reported through the tip line and the information will be shared with appropriate staff members for follow up and any necessary investigation and action.
* New Entry Process for the Elementary School: New camera and door hardware has been installed at the entrance to the elementary school, right next to the elementary office. This allows the elementary school secretary to control visitor access to the school. Visitors will follow the normal process of coming to the main entrance and signing in. Once inside the building, they will need to go through a second secure entrance to access the elementary school.
* Evening Security of Middle School/High School Wing: The doors that access the Middle School/High School Building are locked at 5 p.m. and remain secure until student arrival in the morning at 7:45 a.m.
* Release of Elementary Students for the Late Buses: Elementary students who stay for after school activities will be escorted to the main entrance of the building by their teacher or advisor at about 3:30 p.m. Once there, students who ride a bus will be escorted to the bus loop. Students being picked up will be held at the main entrance until a parent or guardian signs them out with the receptionist. Changes to any student release for the late bus must be processed through the elementary office.
* Professional Development, Training and Drills: Schools and other organizations must prepare for emergencies, including such scenarios as an active shooter situation. Because it's important to remain vigilant in preparing for any type of emergency, the district will continue to establish best practice in its emergency plans and processes. Geneseo's school resource officer, Dylan DiPasquale, has been an asset in helping the district examine its practices and the security of its facilities. John Holt, Geneseo's technology coordinator, also serves as the safety coordinator for the district. With the help of DiPasquale and Holt, the district is continually working to provide the very safest school possible. Hayes noted the district is also working in very close cooperation with the New York State Police, Livingston County Sheriff's Office and the Geneseo Police Department to plan and coordinate safety and emergency plans and practices.
Hayes ended his letter with a plea to parents to speak with their children about the importance of reporting suspicious behaviors and actions or that makes them feel unsafe or threatened.
"In almost every incidence of school violence, there are advance signs that something is wrong," said Hayes. "We must communicate to our children that it is important to report something if they feel unsafe or threatened. When school violence has been averted, it is almost always due to someone coming forward regarding suspicions about an individual's behavior."