20220602_letterfromsup

Letter from the Superintendent: School Safety
Posted on 06/02/2022
Letter from the Superintendent








Dear Ellenville Families, 

After the recent tragedies in Buffalo and Texas and the lockdown last week here in Ellenville, I know many of us are feeling especially concerned about the safety of our students. 

In the Ellenville Central School District we are continually seeking ways to further enhance our facilities and our practices in order to provide the safest learning environment we can. In the coming months we’ll be doing even more, as well as reviewing the roles we all play in ensuring school safety. 

Before the end of the school year, each school building will hold a student assembly to review our safety protocols and the student Code of Conduct as it relates to threats and weapons. These assemblies will include conversations with local law enforcement, school administration, and our student support staff. To ensure that this information is reinforced, these assemblies will be held again in the fall. 

Current Safety Practices

Safety and security is a constant focus for the District, and the following measures are among those in place: 

  • District and building-wide safety plans are reviewed and updated each year. 
  • Security attendants are assigned to each building, moving through the hallways providing supervision, conducting exterior perimeter checks, and ensuring that all doors are properly secured. Security attendants are also assigned to each school’s lobby to check in visitors with our electronic visitor management system. 
  • Security cameras monitor and record activity inside and outside all buildings. (Cameras are not permitted in classrooms, bathrooms or locker rooms.)
  • Practice lockdowns, holds in place, and fire drills are held throughout the year. 
  • The District maintains a strong partnership with the Ellenville Police Department, which conducts  routine building walkthroughs. Officers also provide feedback during safety drills.  
  • An increased Student Support Staff includes school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and a behavior specialist. The District also partners with Ulster BOCES for the assistance of the behavior support team and with Family of Woodstock, which provides a restorative justice facilitator.  

Future Enhancements

Additionally, more safety enhancements are planned. We’ll share more details as these take effect:

  • Security enhancements will be made to building entrances
  • Bullet resistant window film will be installed on many windows and doors
  • School resource officers 
  • A caseworker to support students and staff
  • An annual safety newsletter to keep the community updated on the District’s practices, enhancements and protocols.

As a reminder, be aware that these items are defined as weapons by the District Code of Conduct and are strictly prohibited on school grounds, school transportation, and school sponsored trips, such as sporting events and field trips. Students found to be in possession of the following will face consequences:

  • Firearms including, but not limited to, a rifle, shotgun, pistol, handgun, silencer, electronic dart gun, stun gun, machine gun, air gun, spring gun, BB gun, or paintball gun
  • Switchblade knife, gravity knife, pilum ballistic knife, cane sword, dagger, stiletto, dirk, razor, box cutter, metal knuckle knife, utility knife, or any other dangerous knife
  • Billy club, blackjack, bludgeon, chukka stick, or metal knuckles
  • Sandbag or sandclub
  • Slingshot or slungshot
  • Martial arts instrument, including, but not limited to, a kung fu star, ninja star, nun-chuck, or shirken;
  • An explosive, including but not limited to, a firecracker or other fireworks
  • Any dangerous chemical or substance, including, but not limited to, a strong acid or base, mace, pepper spray, bleach or bodily fluids
  • Imitation gun
  • Loaded or blank cartridges or other ammunition
  • Any incendiary device
  • Any other deadly or dangerous instrument or any ordinary object that can cause physical harm when used to cause physical harm and/or damage property

Community Collaboration

Perhaps most importantly, we all play a critical role in ensuring school safety. Here’s how you can help:

  • Remind children that if they hear or see something concerning, tell an adult in the school.
  • If you hear or see something that threatens school or student safety, including on social media, notify a school administrator and/or Ellenville Police. We will work together to investigate.  
  • Be mindful of what you post or share on social media, especially when it comes to school safety. Misinformation, gossip and speculation can harm investigations and even create an unsafe situation. 
  • Check backpacks daily for prohibited items. Even if brought to school accidentally, the student will be disciplined in accordance with the Code of Conduct.  
  • Remind children that all threats are unacceptable, even joking, and will result in disciplinary action.  
  • If you have a suggestion, please tell us. Many incredible solutions come from the people who are at school every day, especially our students. 

Finally, we ask for your understanding. When an incident occurs, our priority is keeping everyone
safe, and we may not be able to release information as rapidly as some would like. We strive to keep the community informed quickly, but also accurately, and we will always share what we can.   

Together we can ensure our schools remain safe and a welcoming place for everyone, and that our children have access to the education they deserve.  

Sincerely,

Lisa A. Wiles

Superintendent of Schools 
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