School Safety

The district does everything it can to ensure our students, staff members and the general public are safe when on school grounds. The district uses a variety of tactics to achieve this goal:

  • Queensbury schools conduct 12 safety drills annually, including evacuation and lockdown drills.
  • Video cameras are used on school grounds, in school buildings and buses to monitor activity.
  • After buses unload in the morning, school buildings are locked and monitored by a staff member.
  • Visitors use an intercom to state their names and purpose of visit to gain entry into secure vestibules at each school.
  • When visitors first come to a school, they must show proof of identification such as a driver’s license and be entered into a BadgePass system.
    • The system scans visitors’ names and photos, and runs them against district safety records and the national sex offender database. Visitors who do not have valid identification are only admitted with administrative approval.
    • Visitors must receive a badge every time they enter a school building, but they only need to be entered into the BadgePass system once to be recognized on future visits to any school building district-wide.
    • Visitors who pass the security clearance are given a badge sticker that must be worn throughout their visit to the school and returned when they leave. If a badge is not returned, a “void” watermark will appear on it the next day so it cannot be reused.
  • Faculty, support staff, substitutes, volunteers, and interns are issued ID badges that are to be worn at all times.
  • The district partners with local law enforcement agencies. Warren County Sheriff’s Officers patrol the campus and school hallways on a daily basis. The New York State Police, whose barracks are next to the school campus, also regularly visit and partner with schools.
  • The district conducts safety reviews annually to evaluate district and building-level safety plans in accordance with the New York State Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (S.A.V.E.) law.
  • Administrators, faculty and staff regularly participate in training activities such as tabletop exercises and workshops to discuss and practice safety plans.
  • Capital projects have and continue to improve safety and security in Queensbury schools.
  • Other safety precautions such as the use of restorative practices, character education programs, mental health-related curriculum, and the on-campus Behavioral Health Center @ Parsons serve as preventative measures.

District-level 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 are at risk of a wide variety of acts of violence, natural, and technological disasters. To address these threats, the State of New York has enacted the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) law.

This component of Project SAVE is a comprehensive planning effort that addresses risk reduction/prevention, response, and recovery with respect to a variety of emergencies in the school district and its schools.

The Queensbury Union Free 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: General considerations and planning guidelines

Purpose

The Queensbury Union Free School District-wide School Safety Plan was developed pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17. At the direction of the Queensbury Union Free School District Board of Education, the Superintendent of the Queensbury Union Free School District appointed a District-wide School Safety Team and charged it with the development and maintenance of the District-wide School Safety Plan.

Identification of school teams

The Queensbury Union Free School District has appointed a District-wide School Safety Team consisting of, but not limited to, representatives of the School Board, students, teachers, administrators, parent organizations, school safety personnel, and other school personnel.

The Chief Emergency Officer shall act as the liaison between the District and external agencies during times of emergency, as well as during plan development and maintenance. The Chief Emergency Officer for the Queensbury Union Free School District is the Assistant Director of Facilities and Operations.

The District-wide Safety Team develops the District-wide School Safety Plan with input from appropriate school employees.

Concept of operations

  • The District-wide School Safety Plan is directly linked to the individual Building-level Emergency Response Plans as a matter of protocol. The activation of the Building-level Emergency Response Plan triggers the notification of the chain of command and the assessment of the activation of the District-wide Emergency School Safety Plan and District-wide Response Team.
  • The District-wide Plan was developed through extensive analysis of the local environment, emergency potential, and available resources. Through training and workshops that included school employees, administration, and local emergency services, the plan has been developed to address the specific needs of the Queensbury Union Free School District and the community.
  • In the event of an emergency or violent incident, the initial response to all emergencies at an individual school will be by the School Emergency Response Team. The Building Principal is responsible for notifying the Superintendent or the highest-ranking person in the chain of command of any necessary Building-level plan activation. This notification shall be accomplished through the use of a telephone or the district’s radio network.
  • Upon the activation of the School Emergency Response Team, the Superintendent or their designee shall be notified and, where appropriate, local emergency officials shall also be notified.
  • County and state resources supplement the school districts emergency action planning in a number of ways:
    • State and local law enforcement provide building reviews and employee training.
    • Local law enforcement and emergency services participate in planning and training exercises and develop strategies for managing building-level emergencies.
    • A protocol exists for the school district to use certain facilities for sheltering during times of emergencies.
    • A protocol exists for the use of county mental health resources during post-incident response.
    • Efforts may be supplemented by County and State resources through existing protocols.

Plan review and public comment

  • Pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation, Section 155.17 (e)(3), this plan will be made available for public comment at least 30 days prior to its adoption. The School Board shall adopt the District-wide Plan only after one public hearing that provides for the participation of school personnel, parents, students and any other interested parties. The plan shall be formally adopted by the Board of Education.
  • Full copies of the District-wide School Safety Plan and any amendments shall be submitted to the New York State Education Department within 30 days of adoption. Full copies of the District-Wide School Safety Plan shall be posted on the District Website within 30 days of adoption.
  • This plan shall be reviewed periodically during the year and maintained by the District-wide School Safety Team. The required annual review shall be completed on or before September 1 of each year after its adoption by the Board of Education.

Section II: Risk reduction/prevention and intervention

Prevention/intervention strategies

Program initiatives

The district has developed a number of programs and activities to aid in risk reduction. These initiatives are run at different age groups within the district.

  • Anti-Bullying Presentations.
  • Character Education programs.
  • The District Code of Conduct.
  • The district has developed comprehensive threat assessment and risk intervention procedures and training.
  • The district has a growing SADD chapter in the school.
  • Encouraging open discussion in health education classes on topics that affect all students, such as bullying, respect, and mental health.
  • The district’s School Resource Officers have been involved in school curriculum to help foster a positive relationship between students, faculty, and law enforcement personnel.
  • Certain employees have attended Conflict Resolution training.
  • Student council.
  • Athletic Code of Conduct
Facilities initiatives

The district has attempted to enhance the security of its facilities through a number of initiatives, including the following:

  • The school has developed a visitor sign-in procedure and requires the use of visitor ID badges, as well as be entered into the school district’s visitor management system.
  • The district uses an employee identification badge system for faculty, staff, substitutes, volunteers, and interns that are to be worn at all times.
  • The school has developed a single point of access for visitors at each building, with buzzer access systems to certain areas of the school building.
  • The district has installed enhanced electronic security equipment.
  • The school district conducts sweeps with law enforcement including the use of canine units.
  • The school district conducts safety reviews annually to evaluate district and building level safety plans in accordance with New York State Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) Law.
  • The school district has performed building safety and security audits with state police and independent security personnel to identify areas of weakness and come up with strategies on how to improve.
Training, drills and exercises
  • The district has established policies and procedures for annual multi-hazard school safety training for employees and students. Training includes:
    • An annual review of the Building-level emergency guides and general employee awareness training for building employees conducted during opening day training.
    • The annual early go home drill to test evacuation and sheltering procedures.
    • Each school building conducts emergency drills throughout the course of the year in compliance with the SED schedule for the purpose of familiarizing employees and students with emergency procedures.
    • Building-level tabletop exercises are run in cooperation with members of local emergency services or safety and security personnel.
  • The district shall conduct drills and other exercises to test and evaluate the effectiveness of the district emergency response plan. Each principal will be required to complete a minimum number of student drills as follows:
    • 4 lockdown drills, 8 fire/evacuation drills. 8 of which must be conducted by December 31 of each year, the balance must be conducted during the remainder of the school year
  • Topics for training will include general security and safety measures, intervention strategies with difficult or challenging students, building security awareness, and reporting requirements and procedures.

In the execution of their duties faculty, aides and monitors shall have responsibility for:

  • Monitoring halls, lavatories, locker rooms, locker bays and similar areas, assuring orderly passage of students and pre-emptive intervention in potentially disruptive situations.
  • Observation of the general property, including the immediate outside area/perimeter of the building(s), with an obligation to report suspicious activity to district or building administration.
  • Overseeing study halls, cafeterias, or other areas of student assemblage with the goal of assisting to maintain an orderly, safe environment.
School safety personnel

School safety personnel have a critical role in violence prevention. The following represents a description of the responsibilities that school safety personnel in the district may expect:

The building principal and their designee(s) shall serve as the School Safety Representative for the school building. The responsibilities of the School Safety Representative are as follows:

  • Monitor hallways, entranceways, exits and outside grounds during school hours for unusual occurrences or unauthorized visitors.
  • Act as building liaison in communicating building level safety issues or concerns.
    • Represent the building on the District-wide Health and Safety Committee.
    • Serve on building level School Building Response Team.
    • Attend school safety meetings and be a resource on school safety and security issues for building employees.
    • Develop plans and strategies for building security, crime and violence prevention, safety planning and employee training.
    • Participate in school incident investigations.
    • Respond to all school emergencies as part of the building’s Emergency Response Plan.
    • Coordinate annual school safety multi-hazard training for students and employees. Multi-hazard training shall include crisis intervention, emergency response and management.
    • Employees and students shall receive annual training and drill practice on protocols for bomb threats, evacuation, sheltering, lock-down, fire emergency, bus drills and appropriate violence prevention strategies.
    • Designate procedure for informing substitute teaching and non-teaching employees of school safety protocols.
  • Comply and encourage compliance with all school safety and security policies and procedures established by the Board of Education.
  • Attend professional development activities on school safety and violence prevention.

All school safety personnel shall be provided with training on violence prevention and school safety. All training courses shall receive prior approval from the Superintendent.

Hiring and screening of school personnel

The following hiring and screening practices are followed for the hiring of all personnel:

Fingerprinting and Criminal Background Checks

For all employees hired by the school district, the district completes a fingerprinting and criminal background check prior to appointment. Employees include: any person receiving compensation for work from the school district; any employee of a contracted service provider involved in direct student contact; any worker assigned to a school under a public assistance employment program (includes part-time employees and substitutes).

Reference Checks

References are thoroughly checked prior to extending an employment offer.

  • Reference check forms are used for instructional, non-instructional and transportation personnel.
  • Reference checks are completed and reviewed by both the hiring supervisor and the administrator in charge of the program area.
  • Prior to making a job offer to a prospective employee, the following mandatory questions are asked during reference checks with immediate and/or past supervisors:
    • Do you have knowledge of any violations of safety or security by (prospective employee) related to students, employees or others?
    • Why did (prospective employee) leave your employment? Or, Do you know why (prospective employee) is leaving your employment?
    • Would you rehire (prospective employee)? If no, why not?

Responding to threats and acts of violence

The Queensbury Union Free School District will investigate all reported threat and acts of violence by students, teachers, and other school personnel, as well as visitors to the school and threats by students to themselves, including suicide.

Whether it is a direct threat or an implied threat, upon hearing information about a violent event, the person hearing the threat shall notify the building administrator. The building administrator will gather the threat assessment team, as necessary, to gather the necessary information to determine if a threat exists.

If the threat is by a student to themselves, including suicide, the appropriate counseling services will respond and the individual’s parent or guardian will be contacted using the emergency contact information that is provided to the school.

Hazard identification

  • I-87 (The Adirondack Northway) – This site has a potential for hazardous material incidents, large fire and or explosions.
  • Aviation Mall
  • City of Glens Falls Water Treatment Facility
  • City of Glens Falls Water Treatment Plant
  • Mobil Station Across from Middle School 

Section III: Response

Notification and activation (internal and external communications)

In cases of a serious violent incident the district would use the procedure listed below to meet the requirements for notification and activation. A serious violent incident is an incident of violent criminal conduct that is or appears to be, life threatening and warrants the evacuation of students and employees because of an imminent threat to their safety or health, including but not limited to; the use or threatened use of a firearm, explosive, bomb, incendiary device, chemical, or biological weapon, knife or other dangerous instrument capable of causing death or serious injury; riot; hostage-taking or kidnapping.

Communications systems are:

Internal
  • Teachers and building employees – PA system
  • Students – PA system and verbally by supervising teachers
  • Superintendent of Schools – Phone by principal’s secretary
  • Buildings and Grounds – Phone or radio by principal’s secretary
  • Board of Education – Phone or email
External

Information will be provided to parents, guardians or persons in parental relation to the students in the event of a violent incident or an early dismissal through the use of telephone by employees at the building level using the student/parent directory, school messenger, social media, the school website, and/or local and regional radio and TV stations. These are the same stations that are used to announce official school delays or closings. This information is provided to parents through the School District website and building handbooks.

Situational responses – Multi-hazard response and response protocols

Responses to acts of violence: implied or direct threats

In the event of an act of violence or implied or direct threat, the district shall follow the following protocol:

  • Follow the classroom emergency procedures as directed by the Building Principal.
  • Use of employees trained in de-escalation or other strategies to diffuse the situation.
  • Inform Building Principal and School Resource Officer of implied or direct threat.
  • Determine level of threat with Superintendent/Designee.
  • Contact appropriate law enforcement agency, if necessary.
  • Monitor situation, adjust response as appropriate, and include the possible use of the Emergency Response Team.
Acts of violence

In the event of serious acts of violence, district personnel shall follow the following protocol:

  • Follow the classroom emergency procedures as directed by the Building Principal.
  • Determine level of threat with Superintendent/Designee.
  • If the situation warrants, isolate the immediate area and evacuate if appropriate.
  • Inform Building Principal/Superintendent.
  • If necessary, initiate lockdown procedure, and contact appropriate law enforcement agency.
  • Monitor situation; adjust response as appropriate; if necessary, initiate early dismissal, sheltering or evacuation procedures.
Response protocols

The Queensbury Union Free School District has a comprehensive multi-hazard Emergency Response Plan. Such plan is updated annually. Copies of the plan are available in each Principal’s Office as well as in the Superintendent’s Office and the Business Office. Elements of the plan include:

Chain of command
  • Kyle Gannon, Superintendent of Schools
  • Denise Troelstra, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction 
  • Scott Whittemore Assistant Superintendent for Business
  • Amy Georgeadis, Director of Human Resources
  • Richard Keys, Director of Health, Physical Education, and Athletics
  • John Luthringer, Director of Instructional Technology
Arrangements for obtaining emergency assistance from local government

The School’s Administration shall use the following process in making arrangements for obtaining assistance during emergencies from emergency services organizations and local government agencies:

  • Superintendent/Designee in an emergency contacts dispatch point or 911 center for fire or EMS response.
  • Superintendent/Designee contacts highest-ranking local government official for notification and/or assistance.
Procedures for obtaining advice and assistance from local government officials

The School’s Administration shall use the following protocol for obtaining advice and assistance from local government officials including the county or city officials responsible for implementation of Article 2-B of the Executive Law:

  • Superintendent/Designee in an emergency will contact emergency management coordinator and/or the highest-ranking local government official for obtaining advice and assistance.
  • The district has identified resources for an emergency as necessary
District resources available for use in an emergency

The Queensbury Union Free School District has created a comprehensive list of resources available during an emergency, including facilities, bulk petroleum, buses and trucks. This list may be found in the appendices. More specific information as it pertains to individual buildings may be found in each building’s Building Level Emergency Response Plans.

Procedures to coordinate the use of school district resources and manpower during emergencies

The district shall use the following procedure to coordinate the use of school district resources and manpower during emergencies:

  • The Building Principal of the affected facility shall contact the Superintendent or the District-wide Safety Team and request the necessary manpower or resources.
  • The Superintendent or the highest-ranking person in the chain of command shall assess the request and allocate personnel and resources as necessary.
Protective action options

The Queensbury Union Free School District shall follow the following protocols in assessing the appropriate protective action option. The decision to cancel school, to dismiss early, shelter in place or evacuate shall be made in cooperation with state and local emergency responders as appropriate.

  • School cancellation
    • Monitor any situation that may warrant a school cancellation – Superintendent/ District Team.
    • Make determination – Superintendent.
    • Contact local media.
  • School delay
    • Monitor any situation that may warrant school delay – Building Administrators/ Superintendent/District Team.
    • If conditions warrant, delay opening of school.
    • Contact Director of Transportation to coordinate transportation issues.
    • Contact local media to inform parents of delayed opening.
    • Set up information center so that parents may make inquiries as to situation.
    • Provide for safety and security of employees and students who do come to school.
  • Early dismissal
    • Monitor situation – Superintendent/District Team.
    • If conditions warrant, close school – Superintendent.
    • Contact Director of Transportation to arrange transportation.
    • Contact local media to inform parents of early dismissal.
    • Set up an information center so that parents may make inquiries as to the situation.
    • Retain appropriate district personnel until all students have been returned home.
  • Evacuation (before, during and after school hours, including security during evacuation and evacuation routes)
    • Determine the level of threat – Superintendent.
    • Contact Transportation Supervisor to arrange transportation – Superintendent or Designee.
    • Clear all evacuation routes and sites prior to evacuation.
    • Evacuate all employees and students to pre-arranged evacuation sites.
    • Account for all student and employee population. Report any missing employees or students to Building Principal.
    • Make determination regarding early dismissal – Superintendent or Designee.
    • If determination was made to dismiss early, contact local media to inform parents of early dismissal.
    • Ensure adult supervision or continued school supervision/security.
    • Set up an information center so that parents may make inquiries as to the situation.
    • Retain appropriate district personnel until all students have been returned home.
  • Sheltering sites (internal and external)
    • Determine the level of threat – Superintendent/Incident Commander/Designee.
    • Determine location of sheltering depending on nature of incident.
    • Account for all students and employees. Report any missing employees or students to designee.
    • Determine other occupants in the building.
    • Make appropriate arrangements for human needs.
    • Take appropriate safety precautions.
    • Establish a public information officer to provide information and current status of the situation to parents and other inquiring parties.
    • Retain appropriate district personnel until all students have been returned home.

Section IV: Recovery

District Support for Buildings

The Queensbury Union Free School District District-wide Team will support the Building-level Emergency Response Team and the Crisis/Post-Incident Response Teams in affected schools.

Disaster Mental Health Services

The district office shall assist in the coordination of Disaster Mental Health Resources, in support of the Post-Incident Response Teams in the affected schools. The Superintendent or his/her designee may gain additional resources from local agencies as the situation requires.

Appendices

Appendix 1: Listing of all school buildings covered by the district

Appendix 2: Building-level emergency response plan summary

Appendix 3: District-owned vehicle inventory: to include buses and other vehicles

Appendix 4: Memoranda of Understanding

Appendix 1 – Listing of all school buildings covered by the district

Queensbury Union Free Central School District Office

429 Aviation Road
Queensbury, NY 12804

Telephone: 518-824-5600
Superintendent: Kyle Gannon

Queensbury High School

409 Aviation Road
Queensbury, NY 12804

Telephone: 518-824-4600
Principal: Damian Switzer

Queensbury Middle School

455 Aviation Road
Queensbury, NY 12804

Telephone: 518-824-3600
Principal: Michael Brannigan

William H. Barton Intermediate School

425 Aviation Road
Queensbury, NY 12804

Telephone: 518-824-2600
Principal: Gwynne Cosh

Queensbury Elementary School

431 Aviation Road
Queensbury, NY 12804

Telephone: 518-824-1600
Director: Jessica Rossetti

Appendix 2 – Building-level emergency response plan summary

Emergencies in schools must be addressed in an expeditious and effective manner. Schools are at risk of acts of violence, natural, and manmade 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 Queensbury Union Free 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.

Purpose

The Queensbury Union Free School District’s Building-level Emergency Response Plan was developed pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17. At the direction of the Queensbury Union Free School District’s Board of Education, the administration of the Queensbury Union Free School District schools appointed a Building-level Emergency Response Team and charged it with the development and maintenance of the School Emergency Response Plan.

Identification of School Teams

Each building has developed two emergency teams:

  • Building-level Emergency Response Team
  • Building-level Post-incident Response Team
Concept of Operations
  • The initial response to all emergencies will be by the School Emergency Response Team.
  • Upon the activation of the School Emergency Response Team, the Superintendent or their designee will be notified and, where appropriate, local emergency officials will also be notified.
  • Efforts may be supplemented by county and state resources through existing protocols.
Plan review and public comment
  • This plan will be reviewed periodically during the year and will be maintained by the Building-level Emergency Response Team. The required annual review will be completed on or before September 1 of each year after its adoption by the Board of Education.
  • Pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17 (e)(3), a summary of this plan will be made available for public comment at least 30 days prior to its adoption. The School Board may adopt the district-wide plans only after at least one public hearing that provides for the participation of school personnel, parents, students and any other interested parties. The plans must be formally adopted by the Board of Education.
  • 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.
  • Full copies of the Building-level Emergency Response Plan will be supplied to both local and State Police within 30 days of adoption and submitted into the online portal on no later than October 15th of each year.
Designation of School Teams
  • A Building-level Emergency Response Team, including the members required by regulation, has been created. Members of the team include: school safety personnel; local law enforcement officials; representatives of teacher, administrator, and parent organizations; local ambulance and other emergency response agencies; community members; other school personnel; and other representatives appointed by the Board of Education.
  • A Building-level Post-emergency Response Team, including the members required by regulation, has been created. Members of the team include: school personnel; medical personnel; mental health counselors; and others who can assist the school community in coping with the aftermath of a serious violent incident or emergency.
Prevention/Intervention Strategies
  • Training for emergency teams and individuals who have safety responsibility, including de-escalation training, has been conducted as determined in the district-wide plan.
  • Procedures for an annual review and the conduct of drills and exercises to test components of this school’s plan, including the use of tabletop exercises, in coordination with local and county emergency responders and preparedness officials have been developed and will be implemented.
  • The District-wide School Safety Plan requires annual multi-hazard training for students and staff. The school’s plan describes how this training will be provided to staff and students in the building.
Identification of Sites of Potential Emergencies

The District-wide School Safety Plan requires an identification of sites of potential emergency. The Building-level Emergency Response Team has identified both internal and external hazards that may warrant protective actions, such as the evacuation and sheltering of the school population.

Assignment of Responsibilities

A chain of command consistent with the National Interagency Incident Management System (NIIMS)/Incident Command System (ICS) will be used in response to an emergency in the building. In the event of an emergency, the building’s response team may adapt NIIMS/ICS principles based on the needs of the incident.

Continuity of Operations

The building has developed procedures to continue operations during an emergency.

Access to Floor Plans

Procedures have been developed to ensure that crisis response, fire and law enforcement agencies have access to floor plans, blueprints, schematics or other maps of the school’s interior, school grounds and road maps of the immediate surrounding area.

Notification and Activation

Procedures have been developed to ensure that crisis response, fire and law enforcement agencies have access to floor plans, blueprints, schematics or other maps of the school’s interior, school grounds and road maps of the immediate surrounding area.

Internal and external communication systems have been developed that will be used in emergencies.

Procedures are in place for notification and activation of the Building-level Emergency Response Plan.

Hazard Guidelines

The District-wide School Safety Plan includes multi-hazard response plans for taking actions in response to an emergency. The school building’s plan may include building-specific guidelines for the following types of emergencies: Threats of Violence, Intruder, Hostage/Kidnapping, Explosive/Bomb Threat, Natural/Weather Related, Hazardous Material, Civil Disturbance, Biological, School Bus Accident, Radiological, Gas Leak, Epidemic, or Others as determined by the Building-level Emergency Response Team.

Evacuation Procedures

Policies and procedures have been developed for the safe evacuation of students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school in the event of a serious violent incident which include at least the following:

  • Evacuation before, during and after school hours (including security during evacuation)
  • Evacuation routes (internal & external)
  • Sheltering sites (internal & external)
  • Procedures for addressing medical needs
  • Transportation
  • Emergency notification of persons in parental relation to the students
  • Other procedures as determined by the Building-level Emergency Response Team.
Security of Crime Scene

Policies and procedures have been established for securing and restricting access to the crime scene in order to preserve evidence from being disturbed or destroyed in cases of violent crimes on school property.

Recovery

The Building-level Emergency Response Plan will be coordinated with the statewide plan for disaster mental health services to assure that the school has access to federal, state and local mental health resources in the event of a violent incident.

Short-term actions for recovery include:

  • Mental health counseling (students and staff)
  • Building security
  • Facility restoration
  • Post-incident response critique
  • Other

Long-term actions for recovery include:

  • Mental health counseling (monitor for post-traumatic stress behavior)
  • Building security
  • Mitigation (to reduce the likelihood of occurrence and impact if it does occur again)
  • Other

Appendix 3 – Resources during a crisis

  • (38) 72-passenger buses
  • (1) 42-passenger bus
  • (5) 7-passenger suburban vehicles 
  • (3) 42-passenger/4 wheelchair
  • (1) 22-passenger/3 wheelchair
  • (1) 27-passenger/2 wheelchair
  • (1) 26-passenger/3 wheelchair
  • Back hoe(s)
  • Loader(s)
  • Scissor lift(s)
  • 16+ AEDs

Appendix 4 – The Early Detection of Potentially Violent Behaviors – A Guide for Families and Communities

Early Warning Signs for Potential Violence

While there is no useful profile of an active shooter and while we understand that it is not always possible to predict behavior that will lead to violence, there are factors that we see commonly linked to acts of school violence. Furthermore, in many acts of school violence information is shared with peers, on social media, or in art to make others aware of the fact that an act of violence may occur – which is defined as “leakage”. School personnel, students, and parents may all be in a position to observe and identify these warning signs and make others aware before an act of school violence ever occurs.

No single sign is sufficient for predicting aggression and violence. Moreover, it is inappropriate – and potentially harmful – to use these early warning signs as a checklist against which to match an individual child. Rather, the warnings are offered as an aid in identifying and referring children may need help towards a path of rehabilitation and intervention. The goal of threat assessment and other associated programs is not punitive in nature – the goal is to help a student or other individual who may be struggling. A good rule of thumb is to assume that these warning, especially when they are presented in combination with each other, indicate a need for further analysis to help determine an appropriate and effective intervention strategy.

The information that follows and such other information as may be appropriate concerning Early Warning shall be made available to all employees in a form to be determined by the Superintendent. It is the policy of the School District that employees and students use the early warning signs only for identification and referral purposes. Trained professionals should make diagnoses in consultation with the child’s parents or guardian.

The following early warning signs are cited by the United States Department of Education in its publication entitled Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools and are presented with the following qualifications: they are not equally significant and they are not presented in order of seriousness. They include:

  • Social withdrawal. In some situations, gradual and eventually complete withdrawal from social contacts can be an important indicator of a troubled child. The withdrawal often stems from feelings of depression, rejection, persecution, unworthiness, and lack of confidence.
  • Excessive feelings of isolation and being alone. Research has shown that the majority of children who are isolated and appear to be friendless are not violent. In fact, these feelings are sometimes characteristic of children and youth who may be troubled, withdrawn, or have internal issues that hinder development of social affiliations. However, research also has shown that in some cases feelings of isolation and not having friends are associated with children who behave aggressively and violently.
  • Excessive feelings of rejection. In the process of growing up, and in the course of adolescent development, many young people experience emotionally painful rejection. Children who are troubled often are isolated from their mentally healthy peers. Their responses to rejection will depend on many background factors. Without support, they may be at risk of expressing their emotional distress in negative ways-including violence. Some aggressive children who are rejected by non-aggressive peers seek out aggressive friends who, in turn, reinforce their violent tendencies.
  • Being a victim of violence. Children who are victims of violence-including physical or sexual abuse-in the community, at school, or at home are sometimes at risk themselves of becoming violent toward themselves or others.
  • Feelings of being picked on and persecuted. The youth who feels constantly picked on, teased, bullied, singled out for ridicule, and humiliated at home or at school may initially withdraw socially. If not given adequate support in addressing these feelings, some children may vent them in inappropriate ways-including possible aggression or violence.
  • Low school interest and poor academic performance. Poor school achievement can be the result of many factors. It is important to consider whether there is a drastic change in performance and/or poor performance becomes a chronic condition that limits the child’s capacity to learn. In some situations–such as when the low achiever feels frustrated, unworthy, chastised, and denigrated–acting out and aggressive behaviors may occur. It is important to assess the emotional and cognitive reasons for the academic performance change to determine the true nature of the problem.
  • Expression of violence in writings and drawings. Children and youth often express their thoughts, feelings, desires, and intentions in their drawings and in stories, poetry, and other written expressive forms. Many children produce work about violent themes that for the most part is harmless when taken in context. However, an over-representation of violence in writings and drawings that is directed at specific individuals (family members, peers, other adults) consistently over time, may signal emotional problems and the potential for violence. Because there is a real danger in misdiagnosing such a sign, it is important to seek the guidance of a qualified professional–such as a school psychologist, counselor, or other mental health specialist–to determine its meaning.
  • Uncontrolled anger. Everyone gets angry; anger is a natural emotion. However, anger that is expressed frequently and intensely in response to minor irritants may signal potential violent behavior toward self or others.
  • Patterns of impulsive and chronic hitting, intimidating, and bullying behaviors. Children often engage in acts of shoving and mild aggression. However, some mildly aggressive behaviors such as constant hitting and bullying of others that occur early in children’s lives, if left unattended, might later escalate into more serious behaviors.
  • History of discipline problems. Chronic behavior and disciplinary problems both in school and at home may suggest that underlying emotional needs are not being met. These unmet needs may be manifested in acting out and aggressive behaviors. These problems may set the stage for the child to violate norms and rules, defy authority, disengage from school, and engage in aggressive behaviors with other children and adults.
  • Past history of violent and aggressive behavior. Unless provided with support and counseling, a youth who has a history of aggressive or violent behavior is likely to repeat those behaviors. Aggressive and violent acts may be directed toward other individuals, be expressed in cruelty to animals, or include fire setting. Youth who show an early pattern of antisocial behavior frequently and across multiple settings are particularly at risk for future aggressive and antisocial behavior. Similarly, youth who engage in overt behaviors such as bullying, generalized aggression and defiance, and covert behaviors such as stealing, vandalism, lying, cheating, and fire setting also are at risk for more serious aggressive behavior. Research suggests that age of onset may be a key factor in interpreting early warning signs. For example, children who engage in aggression and drug abuse at an early age (before age 12) are more likely to show violence later on than are children who begin such behavior at an older age. In the presence of such signs it is important to review the child’s history with behavioral experts and seek parents’ observations and insights
  • Intolerance for differences and prejudicial attitudes. All children have likes and dislikes. However, an intense prejudice toward others based on racial, ethnic, religious, language, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and physical appearance–when coupled with other factors–may lead to violent assaults against those who are perceived to be different. Membership in hate groups or the willingness to victimize individuals with disabilities or health problems also should be treated as early warning signs.
  • Drug use and alcohol use. Apart from being unhealthy behaviors, drug use and alcohol use reduces self-control and exposes children and youth to violence, either as perpetrators, as victims, or both.
  • Affiliation with gangs. Gangs that support anti-social values and behaviors–including extortion, intimidation, and acts of violence toward other students–cause fear and stress among other students. Youth who are influenced by these groups–those who emulate and copy their behavior, as well as those who become affiliated with them–may adopt these values and act in violent or aggressive ways in certain situations. Gang-related violence and turf battles are common occurrences tied to the use of drugs that often result in injury and/or death.
  • Inappropriate access to, possession and use of firearms. Children and youth who inappropriately possess or have access to firearms can have an increased risk for violence. Research shows that such youngsters also have a higher probability of becoming victims. Families can reduce inappropriate access and use by restricting, monitoring, and supervising children’s access to firearms and other weapons. Children who have a history of aggression, impulsiveness, or other emotional problems should not have access to firearms and other weapons.
  • Serious threats of violence. Idle threats are a common response to frustration. Alternatively, one of the most reliable indicators that a youth is likely to commit a dangerous act toward self or others is a detailed and specific threat to use violence. Recent incidents across the country clearly indicate that threats to commit violence against oneself or others should be taken very seriously. Steps must be taken to understand the nature of these threats and to prevent them from being carried out. 
Identifying and Responding to Imminent Warning Signs

Unlike early warning signs, imminent warning signs indicate that a student is very close to behaving in a way that is potentially dangerous to self and/or to others. Imminent warning signs require an immediate response.

No single warning sign can predict that a dangerous act will occur. Rather, imminent warning signs usually are presented as a sequence of overt, serious, hostile behaviors or threats directed at peers, employees, or other individuals. Usually, imminent warning signs are evident to more than one employee member–as well as to the child’s family.
Imminent warning signs may include:

  • Serious physical fighting with peers or family members.
  • Severe destruction of property.
  • Severe rage for seemingly minor reasons.
  • Detailed threats of lethal violence.
  • Possession and/or use of firearms and other weapons.
  • Other self-injurious behaviors or threats of suicide.
  • Making others aware of a potential upcoming threat of violence.
  • Taking planning steps towards an attack
Threat Assessment

In conjunction with physical security and emergency management, threat assessment is a key tool in ensuring the safety and security of our school communities. The goal of threat assessment is to identify students of concern, assess their risk for engaging in harmful behavior or violence against themselves or others, and identify intervention strategies to manage that risk and provide solutions for the student. Threat assessment is a multidisciplinary process which includes multiple members of the community responding to a potential threat of violence in order to field a meaningful and comprehensive solution. Threat assessment aims to gather facts which lead to a set of meaningful and accurate conclusions which develop and produce strategies to curb the destructive behavior.

A threat is an expression of intent to do harm or act out violently against someone or something. A threat can be written, spoken, or symbolic – as in motioning with one’s hands as though shooting or strangling another person. There are principally four types of threats – direct, indirect, veiled and conditional.

Individuals who make threats normally manifest other behaviors or emotions that are indicative of a problem. These can include: signs of depression, prolonged brooding, evidence of frustration or disappointment; fantasies of destruction or revenge in conversations, writings, drawings or other actions; expressions of intense love, fear, rage, revenge, excitement or pronounced desire for recognition. Use of alcohol or drugs can be an aggravating factor, as can a romantic breakup, failing grades, or conflicts with parents or friends.

When performing threat assessment we understand that no single past event can provide us with all of the answers for the future, but we do understand that past events can provide us with a pathway towards understanding behaviors that may be indicative of larger problems. We know that past student attackers usually had multiple motives, most commonly being a grievance with classmates, we know that most attackers had experienced psychological, behavioral, or developmental symptoms, we know that attackers typically have interest in violent topics, we know that nearly all attackers have experienced social stressors involving their relationships with peers and/or romantic partners, we know that nearly every attacker experienced negative home life factors, we know that most attackers were victims of bullying, which was often observed by others, we know that most attackers had a history of school disciplinary actions, and we know that all past attackers had exhibited concerning behaviors, most had elicited concerns from others, and most communicated their intent to attack to others.

Personality Traits

Personality traits and behaviors that should be considered in assessing the likelihood of a student carrying out a threat include:

  • a student intentionally or unintentionally revealing clues to feelings, thoughts, fantasies, attitudes, or intentions that may signal an impending violent act;
  • low tolerance of frustration, easily hurt, insulted, angered by real or perceived injustices;
  • poor coping skills, demonstrating little ability to deal with frustration, criticism, disappointment, failure, rejection or humiliation;
  • lack of resiliency, is unable to bounce back from frustrating and disappointing experiences; failed love relationship, cannot accept or comes to term with humiliation or rejection;
  • injustice collector, nurses resentment over real or perceived injustices, will not forgive or forget those who s/he believes are responsible;
  • narcissism, self-centered, lacking insight to the needs / feelings of others, blames others for failure and disappointment, may embrace the role of victim, display signs of paranoia, self-importance or grandiosity masking feelings of unworthiness, notably think or thin skinned;
  • alienation, feels different or estranged from others, more than being a loner, involves feelings of isolation, sadness, loneliness, not belonging or fitting in;
  • dehumanizes others, fails to see others as humans, sees them as objects to be thwarted;
  • lacks empathy, demonstrates inability to understand feelings of others, may ridicule displays of emotion as weak or stupid;
  • exaggerated sense of entitlement, has a sense of being superior and constantly expects special treatment and consideration;
  • attitude of superiority, has a sense of being superior to others, smarter, more creative, talented, experienced, more worldly;
  • exaggerated / pathological need for attention, positive or negative, regardless of the circumstances;
  • externalizes blame, consistently refuses to take responsibility for own actions, blames others, often seems impervious to rational argument and common sense;
  • masks low self-esteem, may display arrogance, self-glorifying attitude, avoids high visibility or involvement, may be considered a “non-entity” by peers:
  • intolerance, racial, ethnic, religious and other, displays symbols and slogans of intolerance on self or possessions;
  • inappropriate humor, macabre, insulting, belittling, or mean.
  • Attempts to manipulate others, attempts to con and manipulate to win trust so others will rationalize aberrant behavior;
  • Lack of trust, is untrusting and suspicious of the motives and intentions of others, may approach clinically paranoid state;
  • Closed social group, introverted, with acquaintances rather than friends, may associate only with a single small group to the exclusion of others;
  • Manifests a dramatic change in behavior, academic performance, disobedience of school rules, schedules, dress codes etc.
  • Demonstrates unusual interest in sensational violence or acts of mass violence, may have a fascination or predilection towards violence that had occurred in previous school attacks;
  • Fascination with violence-filled entertainment, movies, TV, computer games, music videos, printed material, inordinate amount of time with violent computer games and websites involving violence weapons and disturbing objects;
  • Has negative role models, drawn to negative, inappropriate role models, such as past perpetrators of acts of mass or school;
  • Manifests behavior that is relevant to carrying out a threat, spends inordinate amount of time practicing with firearms, on violent websites, begins excluding normal pursuits such as homework, classwork, time with friends, is seen mapping out the building or discussing plans for how they would carry out an attack, may create a “hit list” of people that they have grievances with.
Negative Home-Life Dynamics

A student’s home life, and any stressors that may be new to the student, such as a parental divorce or separation, drug use or criminal charges among family members, or domestic abuse, could severely harm a child’s life and predisposition towards carrying out a threat of violence. While none of the factors here should be viewed as a predictor that a student will be violent, past research has identified an association with a difficult home life and a range of negative outcomes for children

School Dynamics

School dynamics that should be considered in assessing the likelihood of a student carrying out a threat include:

  • Student attachment to school, student appears detached from school, other students, teachers, and school activities;
  • Tolerance for disrespectful behavior, school does little to prevent or punish disrespectful behavior between students, bullying is part of the school culture, school authorities are oblivious to bullying, little or no intervention by school authorities, school atmosphere promotes racial or class divisions, allows them to remain unchallenged;
  • Inequitable discipline, discipline is inequitably applied or is perceived as such by students or employees;
  • Inflexible culture, official and unofficial patterns of behavior, values and relationships among students, teachers and administrators are static, unyielding and insensitive to changes in society and the changing needs of newer students;
  • Pecking order among students, certain groups have more prestige and respect – both officially and unofficially by students and school officials;
  • Code of silence, prevails among students, little trust between students and employees, students and staff are unclear about who they should report potential threats to, there is no monitoring or reporting system currently in place;
  • Unsupervised computer access, access is unsupervised and unmonitored, students are able to play violent games, explore inappropriate websites, promote violent hate groups, give instruction in bomb making etc.
Social Dynamics

Social dynamics that should be considered in assessing the likelihood of a student carrying out a threat include:

  • Media, entertainment and technology, easy unmonitored access to media, entertainment and Internet sites with violent themes and images;
  • Peer groups, intense and extensive involvement with a group that shares fascination with violence or extremist beliefs;
  • Outside interests, outside interests of students are important to note as they can mitigate or increase the school’s level of concern in assessing a threat;
  • Copycat effect, school shooting and other violent incidents that receive intense media attention can generate threats or copycat violence elsewhere, school employees should be highly vigilant in then aftermath of such incidents.