Dear Stillwater families,
The safety of our students is and always will be the top priority in the Stillwater Central School District. The tragedy in Parkland, Florida last month has caused communities across the country to review and rethink this issue, including us here in Stillwater. I wanted to take this time to remind you all of the safety procedures we have had in place, in addition to new procedures that will be forthcoming.
All doors at each building are always locked during the school day. All visitors must be buzzed in from the outside by the main office. In May 2017, we began using the Raptor Visitor Management system, which requires all visitors to have their ID scanned prior to entering our buildings and checks them against a national sex offender database. All visitors receive a photo ID badge that they are required to wear during their visit. This security system allows us to track visitors, contractors, and volunteers in our schools.
Relationships with law enforcement
Stillwater school officials have a strong relationship with all local police departments. At the start of each school year, we walk through our buildings with law enforcement and receive recommendations on where we can improve our safety procedures.
We also work with the New York State Police on our District Emergency Plan, which has been used as a model by the State Education Department.
Safety procedures and protocols
The Stillwater Central School District has an Emergency Response Plan that addresses multiple emergency/crisis situations and action protocols. District staff and faculty are trained on how to implement their specific duties during each crisis scenario.
In September 2017, each family in our district received an emergency guide, which serves as a resource tool for parents and guardians so that they can understand our procedures and what protocols we adhere to in the event of a crisis.
Each year our district is required by the state to have four unannounced lockdown drills. We have already completed three for this school year.
The capital project which was approved in December 2016 called for security upgrades at both of our buildings. The upgrades included the installation of strobe lights on the outside of our buildings, which would notify the public and those outside of the building of a secure campus alert. These are expected to be installed this summer. Other elements of the capital project include upgrades to security cameras and smoke detectors, as well as redesigning the main entrances to both of our school buildings to include a double door entry system.
It is also important to let you know that the district is in the beginning stages of talking with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department to hopefully secure a School Resource Officer.
On Monday, Mar. 12, we are conducting a Superintendent’s Conference Day, where we will be hosting a panel discussion for all district staff on school safety with the Saratoga Sheriff’s Department, the Stillwater Police Department, the New York State Police, our district’s attorney, a psychologist and school administrators.
We need your help
We want students to know the important role that they play in school safety and the well-being of their classmates. We encourage students to talk to an adult at school if they see or hear something concerning. Please help us by reinforcing this approach and make sure your child has an adult at school they feel comfortable talking with if needed.
Finally, it is important for all to know that we always have emotional support available at school. Please don’t hesitate to contact a teacher, school counselor or administrator if your child needs any assistance. Thank you for your understanding and support of enhancing school safety protocols in our district. As always, please contact me if you have any questions.
Superintendent of Schools