GENESEO — As a result of the gun violence that is impacting schools across the Nation, Geneseo Central School is enhancing their security plan.
Geneseo Central School Superintendent Tim Hayes, delivered the news on the school website and in a social media post stating the reason for changes.
“I want to start this letter by stating a fundamental belief that we have always held at Geneseo Central: A caring environment for every student is the best way to ensure the safety of each student,” stated Hayes. “This will always be paramount in the operations of our schools.”
The enhanced security measures include increased security at the entrance, a tip line and a new reporting policy for absenteeism.
“In almost every incidence of school violence, there are advance signs that something is wrong. We must communicate to our children that it is important to report something if they feel unsafe or threatened,” states Hayes. “When school violence has been averted, it is almost always due to someone coming forward regarding suspicions about an individual’s behavior.”
The letter states:
April 6, 2018
Dear GCS Families:
Issues of school safety are always on our minds at Geneseo Central. Recent tragedies both nationally and regionally have heightened our attention on these issues in our District. I want to start this letter by stating a fundamental belief that we have always held at Geneseo Central: A caring environment for every student is the best way to ensure the safety of each student. This will always be paramount in the operations of our schools. Every adult in our District is committed to creating a safe and positive environment for our students and staff.
In response to the most recent events that have taken place in schools, we have made some significant enhancements to our school safety and security procedures and hardware. Our building principals have communicated changes taking place that impact the individual schools. I want to summarize all of the changes taking place for all of our families so that there is universal awareness of what is happening on our campus. The following changes have either taken place or will be taking place in the near future:
• 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 am and 8:30 am. A phone call will be made regardless of whether a student has been reported as absent by his or her family. Contacting the families of all absent students allows us to know very quickly if a student is absent from school without the knowledge of 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 243-1183. There will also be an online form on the District website under Quick Links. For any emergency, 911 or a school office should always be called. However, if there is a concern regarding the safety and security of our 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 secretary to control visitor access to the elementary 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 5:00 pm and remain secure until student arrival in the morning at 7:45 am.
• 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 approximately 3:30 pm. 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/guardian signs them out with the receptionist. Changes to any student release for the late bus must be processed through the elementary office. This process now mirrors our normal end-of-day routine.
• Professional Development, Training and Drills: It is an unfortunate necessity that schools and other organizations must prepare for emergencies that include such things as an active shooter. However, we must be vigilant in preparing for any type of emergency in our school. As such, we will continue to establish best practice in our emergency plans and processes at Geneseo Central. Our School Resource Officer, Dylan DiPasquale, has been a strong asset in helping us to examine our practices and the security of our facility. John Holt, our Technology Coordinator, also serves as the Safety Coordinator for the District. With the help of Dylan and John, we are continually working to provide the very safest school possible for our school community. We also work in very close cooperation with the New York State Police, Livingston County Sheriff’s Department and the Geneseo Police Department to plan and coordinate safety and emergency plans and practices.
“If you see something, say something.”
In almost every incidence of school violence, there are advance signs that something is wrong. 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.
In closing, let me reiterate my opening comments. The best security we have are the relationships that exist in our school community. Our District is committed to keeping every child and adult safe in our facilities. We ask for your cooperation and some patience as you join us in this most critical endeavor.