Eastchester, New York

    (Safe Schools Against Violence in Education)

    Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17

    Public Hearing Held: January 24, 2017
    Adopted: January 24, 2017


    Emergencies in schools are paramount issues that must be addressed in an expeditious and effective manner. Schools stand the risk from a wide variety of acts of violence, natural disaster, 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 schools.

    The Eastchester Union Free School District supports the SAVE Legislation. The Superintendent of Schools encourages and advocates on-going district wide cooperation and support of Project SAVE.

    Section 1: General Considerations and Planning Guidelines

    A. Purpose

    The Eastchester School District Safety Plan was developed pursuant to Commissioner's Regulation 155.17. At the direction of the Eastchester School District Board of Education, the school appointed a District School Safety Team and charged it with the development and maintenance of the District Safety Plan.

    B. Identification of School Teams

    The Eastchester School District created a District School Safety Team consisting of teachers, administrators, school safety personnel, and other personnel.

    C. Concept of Operations

    1. The District Safety Plan will be linked to the individual Building Emergency Response Plan for each building. Protocols developed by the District Safety Plan will guide the development and implementation of the Building Level Safety and Emergency Response Plans.

    2. In the event of an emergency or violent incident, the initial response at an individual school will be the School Emergency Response Team. 

    3. Once the Superintendent is notified, the District Emergency Response Team will be mobilized to respond and appropriate local emergency officials will be notified. Depending on the magnitude of the emergency, the School Emergency Response Team may contact local emergency officials before contacting District Office.

    D. Plan Review and Public Comment

    1. This plan shall be reviewed and maintained by the District School Safety Team and be reviewed on an annual basis, no later than September 1 each school year.

    2. Pursuant to Commissioner's Regulation 155.17(e)(3), this plan will be made available for public comment 30 days prior to its adoption. The District and Building Level Plans may be adopted by the School Board only after at least one public hearing that provides for the participation of school personnel, parents, students and any other interested parties. The plan must be formally adopted by the Board of Education at a public meeting.

    3. The School Safety Plans and School 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 the law, in accordance with Education Law Section 2801-a. Full copies of District Safety Plans and any amendments shall be submitted to the State Education Department within 30 days of adoption. Building Emergency Response Plans shall be submitted to both state and local police within 30 days.

    Section II: General Emergency Response Planning

    A. Identification of Potentially Dangerous/Hazardous Sites

    1. Each school will identify and locate areas of potential emergencies in and around their school building. The Director of Facilities and building custodian will locate and map these sites. These sites are to include electrical, gas, heating, ventilation, water supply and sewage system locations and shut-offs. Representatives of BOCES and local fire departments may assist in these efforts.

    2. These locations will be listed in each School Safety Plan and placed in building maps supplied to local police, fire, EMS, and district personnel.

    3. Potentially dangerous sites will be checked regularly and inspected by safety personnel annually.

    B. District Response to Emergency Situations

    1. The District’s procedure for early dismissal and cancellation of school’s policy

    1) Responsibilities of the Superintendent:

    1.1 The Superintendent of Schools or designee, in consultation with community agencies, law enforcement, district administrator(s) and principal(s) may close one or more schools in the district. The safety and well being of students, along with the welfare of personnel, shall formulate the rationale for the decision.
    1.2 The Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction shall coordinate with Building Emergency Response teams and social services/personnel both in and out of the school district.
    1.3 The Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of Business shall instruct the transportation coordinator to inform bus companies regarding the early dismissal, late opening, cancellation of schools, rescheduling of classes, and/or school closures.
    1.4 The Superintendent shall direct the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction to inform the principal(s) of any other school(s) and other appropriate authorities affected by this decision. The Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services shall notify out-of-district students’ schools of early dismissal.
    1.5 The Superintendent shall report to the Board of Education all decisions regarding this policy.
    1.6 The Superintendent shall direct the Assistant Superintendent of Business to notify the news media, when appropriate, in order that they broadcast pertinent information to parents and students. The Assistant Superintendent will work with the Public Relations Coordinator to advise parents through the district’s website and other media.
    1.7 The Superintendent shall maintain records of all school early dismissals and closings.

    2) Responsibilities of Principals:

    2.1 Principals, in consultation with the Superintendent, shall be responsible for deciding when to dismiss students or, when applicable, to reschedule classes.
    2.2 The parents of elementary students will receive a phone call to regular and emergency numbers. When calls fail to contact the parent or emergency number, the elementary students will remain under supervision of school personnel until parents are notified and pick up students at the end of the school day.
    2.3 Students with disabilities who may have special needs of difficulty exiting the building quickly should have a separate evacuation plan in place. This may include the gathering of appropriate medications and mapping out a wheel chair accessible pathway.

    3. Procedures for Evacuations: Procedures for evacuation are found in Building Safety Plans. The evacuations vary by school and situation. Plans include transportation available evacuations and pedestrian evacuations. The decision to evacuate must be made after assessing possible hazard outside the building. Prior to evacuation, custodial staff will ensure all corridors, hallways, stairways, and exits are clear.

    4. Procedures for Sheltering On-Site: Each building has identified on-site sheltering to be used that varies from school and situation. Weather safety zones and duck and cover procedures are designated in each building.

    5. Procedures for Sheltering Off-Site: Each building has identified off-site sheltering facilities to be used in the event of emergencies when transportation is not available. These are included in each of the building plans.

    6. All procedures include provisions for parent notification, which will be developed by Building Level Safety Teams and included in each Building Level Safety Plan.

    7. Emergencies include, but are not limited to, anthrax, intrusions, kidnapping, bomb threats/bomb found, armed student hostage taking, hazardous material release, chemical spill, earthquake, fire, explosion, intruder, utility failure, severe weather/tornado, threats, suicide, child abuse, assault, rape, death of family member, illness of student or faculty member, abduction, accident with severe injuries, school bus accident with injuries, death at school, and elopement. Information about these can be referenced in the Building Emergency Response Plan.

    C. District Resources Which May Be Used During an Emergency (see Personnel Responsible During and After Emergencies – District Administration and Staff)

    D. Procedures to Coordinate the Use of District Resources During Emergencies:

    1. Officials authorized to make decisions:

     Superintendent
     Assistant Superintendent of Business
     Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction
     Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services
     Director of Facilities – for all school hazard emergencies

    2. District officials to coordinate emergency response:

     Superintendent – will inform and obtain advice and assistance from governmental agencies within the Eastchester School District of disaster; address news media; and coordinate activities with Building Response Teams and social service personnel both in and outside the district.
     Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction– will inform all educational agencies within the Eastchester School District boundaries of disaster.
     Assistant Superintendent of Business – communication with bus companies any change of schedule, and work with the Public Relations Coordinator to communicate with the school community.
     Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services – notify out of district special education transportation and administrators.
     Director of Facilities – coordinates hazardous material issues with fire department, other agencies and companies.

    E. Procedures for Annual Multihazard Training for Staff and Students

    1. Safety Committee will complete inspections and review all building plans in compliance with rescue regulations – Part 155.4(d) – by October 1st.

    2. All required staff training supplied by Southern Westchester BOCES will be completed by October 1st (blood-borne pathogens, hazmats, other right to know).

    F. The District and Schools will conduct periodic drills and other exercises to test components of the Emergency Response Plan, including tabletop exercises, in coordination with local emergency responders and preparedness officials. Schools will keep a record of these drills and report them annually to the District Safety Team. Debriefing of team members after emergency response incidents is recommended.

    Section III: Responding to Threats and Acts of Violence

    A. The District has established safety and security procedures to protect students, staff and visitors from indirect and direct threats of violence.

    1. Reporting threats and investigating threats of violence to school authorities (see District Emergency Response Plan – Threats/Rumor of Threats).

    2. Proactive Security Measures:

     All doors are locked with a single point of entry
     Entrance is monitored and visitors must sign in and out
     Hundreds of security cameras allow school and district personnel to monitor school grounds.
     Visitors are required to wear identification  Schools will educate students, parents and staff about the importance of school safety
     Schools will hold building lock-down drills to promote school safety
     Schools will use the Instructional Support Team to identify and develop plans for potentially violent students
     District and building administrators are authorized to call the police to respond to threats or acts of violence
     The District will continue to investigate security devices and strategies to make schools as safe as possible.

    3. Procedures are in place for investigating acts of violence, and the range of consequences include removal from school grounds to contacting the police (see District Emergency Response Plan – Acts of Violence).

    4. Identification of appropriate responses to emergencies is referenced in the District Emergency Response Plan. They include anthrax, intrusions, kidnapping, bomb threats/bomb found, armed student hostage taking, hazardous material release, chemical spill, earthquake, fire, explosion, intruder, utility failure, severe weather/tornado, threats, suicide, child abuse, assault, rape, death of family member, illness of student or faculty member, abduction, accident with severe injuries, school bus accident with injuries, death at school, and elopement.

    B. Procedures for contacting parents, guardians and parental relationships in event of violent incident or early dismissal. (See General Emergency Response Planning-Part B2 and Building Emergency Response Plan – Aftermath Emergency)

    Section IV: Communication with Others

    A. Arrangements for gaining assistance during emergencies from local emergency organizations, agencies and local government agencies.

    1. The Eastchester School District has worked closely with police, fire, EMS and government agencies to obtain assistance during emergencies.

    2. Coordination of emergency response - will coordinate the use of in-district and community resources:

    Superintendent will inform and obtain advice and assistance from governmental agencies within the Eastchester School District of disaster. The Superintendent will alert the Assistant Superintendents, and Director of Facilities of the emergency and will coordinate activities with building response teams and social service personnel both in and outside the district.
    Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction will inform all educational agencies within the Eastchester School District boundaries of disaster.
    Assistant Superintendent of Business will coordinate with transportation coordinator, Director of Facilities and Public Relations Coordinator.
    Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services will notify out of district special education transportation and administrators.

    See individual Building Emergency Response Plans – Emergency Communication Procedure.

    Section V: Prevention and Intervention Strategies

    1. School-based counseling services are provided in all of our schools. Skilled and appropriate interventions, consultation with teachers and parents and referral to community resources are provided K-12.

    Curricula in Risk Reduction, Health Promotion and Social Skills are provided across all grades. The elementary schools guidance programs focus on character education and provides students with an anti-bullying curriculum. Also instituted is a peer mentoring and social skills development program. The peer mentors become role models and assist students with communication issues and help them acclimate during recess and lunchtime, a time in schools when bullying may be problematic. In the secondary schools, the Health Education Program focuses on a variety of health risks (illegal drug use, sexual activity and violence) and offer rationales for risk avoidance or reductions. Health promotion lessons can be valuable. Learning activities that promote health, provide interesting alternatives to risk choices and promote decision making that are appealing to adolescents. Social skill development is often part of lessons taught in a number of subject areas. Such lessons can be helpful in reinforcing respectful behaviors.

    2. Policy and procedures related to school building security:

    a. Control All Entrances and Exits - Controlling access to school buildings is paramount for security. By minimizing the number of entrance and exit points and locking doors, school visitors can be directed to entry points that are under observation by school personnel.
    b. Each main entrance is monitored and visitors must report to the security desk to sign in.
    c. Presently, nearly all Eastchester schools have contracted security guards. Their job function is to monitor entrances, move students between classrooms, patrol hallways, supervise cafeteria, check restrooms, and monitor exterior school grounds.

    3. Appropriate training and intervention strategies:

    a. Training includes positive behavioral supports, conflict resolution and/or de-escalating techniques.
    b. Training is available during conference days.

    4. Procedures related to building security include utilization of staff and security equipment:

    a. All district schools have alarm systems.
    b. All district schools have security cameras.
    c. All District schools have a locked single point of entry operated using a buzzer system and security camera.
    d. All district schools have a visitor management system to record information about visitors entering the schools.
    e. Nearly all schools have contracted security personnel.
    f. All schools provide current building blue prints and maps to local authorities: police, fire, EVAC.

    5. Strategies to improve communication between students and staff and reporting violent events:

    a. The district incorporates character education, communication strategies and violence prevention across the grades:

    Elementary Character Education
    Good Touch/Bad Touch
    Abduction Prevention
    Anti-Bullying Program
    Social Skills Training Peer Mentoring

    Understanding Yourself
    Making a Good Impression
    Communication Skills
    Setting Goals and Making Decisions
    Getting Along with Others
    Getting Along with Family
    Making and Keeping Friends
    Peers and Decision Making
    Keeping Healthy
    Personality Values and Aptitude
    Health Education (MS and HS)
    Making Healthy Choices
    Peer Pressure
    Violence Prevention
    Bullying Prevention (MS and HS)
    Student Assistance Services and D.A.R.E. (MS and HS)
    Substance Abuse Prevention

    b. Existing programs encourage student and staff communication daily.

    c. The procedures for reporting threats and acts of violence call for students to notify a school employee who will then notify a school administrator.

    d. Procedures regarding dissemination of informative materials regarding early detection of potentially violent behavior. All parents, staff, community members will be offered training in early warning signs for school violence. There will be an emphasis on prevention and intervention. Materials will also be distributed through District and School Newsletters and parent and staff meetings