To the BKW Community,
Wednesday morning the district was made aware of a threat made by a high school student on social media. Concerned parents who saw the threat contacted district administrators, who in turn contacted law enforcement. While the threat was not deemed to be credible, the district still heightened security as a precaution. Law enforcement worked closely with district administrators to contact the parents, address the issue from a disciplinary standpoint, and to remove the student from the premises. This event shows that the district’s relationships with parents, the community, and law enforcement are strong, that our procedures work, and that student safety remains the district’s number one priority.
As security has become a prominent issue in the wake of the Parkland (FL) incident, it is important that the community understands the many pieces to the process of keeping students and staff safe every day. The district has been active on many fronts, including:
- Conducting active shooter training through the Albany County Sheriff’s Office for students, and then for our staff
- Providing anti-bullying assemblies for students, which included segments on social media posting
- Developing a Peer Mediation program to reduce the incidence of conflict among students and to build their conflict resolution strategies
- Delivery of a comprehensive counseling and support program for our students to help manage their emotions and support our identifying possible issues
- Having a partnership with Albany County Office of Child and Family Services to provide a mental health clinician on site one day per week
- Seeking to add a partnership with Parson Child and Family Center to add a fully integrated social worker
- Annual review and updating of emergency response plans, and carrying out all necessary emergency drills required by law
- Review of visitor sign-in procedures during the school day to limit unauthorized visitor access to each building
From a facility standpoint, the capital project includes many safety and security elements that are necessary to bring our facility into the 21st century, including:
- Creating secure visitor entries at both buildings, preventing access to visitors until authorized
- Reconfiguring traffic patterns and eliminating parking between the two buildings, reducing the risk of students or staff being hit by a car
- Relocation of the main offices at each school to be adjacent to the visitor entry so visitors do not have to travel through the school to conduct their business
- Adding an emergency communications system supported by the Albany County Sheriff’s Department allowing all agencies to be in communication immediately during an incident
On the subject of a resource officer, we are exploring this possibility, and it is not to be ruled out. The Board of Education has authorized me to secure additional personnel for each building to support security efforts for the short-term. I have met with the Sheriff, along with neighboring colleagues, and we are in the process of determining all details necessary to adding a resource officer, or equivalent kind of personnel.
Again, safety and security of everyone on campus is our first priority. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Dr. Timothy Mundell
Superintendent of Schools