At its meeting on Monday, May 7, the BKW Board of Education approved two resolutions enhancing safety and security in the district. Dr. Mundell provided a brief synopsis of recent issues involving social media and parent access to the schools, and reviewed steps taken over the past several weeks to engage in discussions regarding school safety with neighboring districts, Capital Region BOCES, and the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.
Inspector Lee Borman, from the Albany County Sheriff’s Office presented a summary of the school safety conversation and outlined phases of implementation of the Emergency Communications System for Schools. Through the use of a radio system, immediate communication and response can be established between the school and the Sheriff’s office. There will be multiple radios placed around the buildings, each equipped with a panic button that when pressed will open the communications line. Additionally, buses will be equipped with a similar type of device to be used when they are in transit. The system includes an app for handheld devices that faculty and staff may use should they come upon an emergency situation. There is no cost to the district for implementing the communications system. The BKW Board of Education made a motion, and approved, a resolution approving district participation in the communications system for the 2018-19 school year. Installation is expected to take place in the early summer, and the system will come at no cost to the district.
In recent weeks the idea of hiring a school resource officer has come to the forefront of public discussion. In early March, Dr. Mundell and his colleagues from Vorrheesville, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, and Capital Region BOCES arranged to meet with the Sheriff’s Department. The meeting was held on April 12, and their purpose was to discuss the necessary steps in securing a school resource officer. On Monday evening, Inspector Borman discussed the process underway at the Department to prepare appropriate candidates to serve in schools in that role. He also outlined the cost to the school district, indicating it would be $65,000 per year. The resource officer would be an employee of the Sheriff’s Department. Once again, the Board seized the moment and made a motion authorizing the district to move forward with the Department on placing a school resource officer in the district for the 2018-19 school year.
Board President Mathew Tedeschi said, “These initiatives are important to ensuring a safe learning environment in our schools, and when combined with the security renovations in our capital project and the numerous counseling and support programs at BKW, we will ultimately have a comprehensive approach to security. “