Sewanhaka schools approve 2019-20 school safety plans

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Sewanhaka schools approve 2019-20 school safety plans
Board President David Del Santo, pictured on the left of Sewanhaka Superintendent James Grossane holding a printout of the's district safety plan, said that the district's plans for active shooter situations can be viewed online. (Photo by Tom McCarthy)

The Sewanhaka Central High School District Board of Education unanimously approved a state-mandated safety plan for active shooter situations and identifying potential threats at a  meeting on Tuesday.

“It is required by the state and it gives districts the requirement of publishing a response to incidents and it doesn’t tell us how to do it, it just says, ‘do it,’” board President David Del Santo said in an interview.

A majority of the plans are available on the district’s public website, he said.

“If anybody has any questions about how we respond, how this district responds, here’s the road map absent any particular ways we respond to certain subject matters that are sensitive,” Del Santo said.

The Board of Education has appointed, under the direction of the superintendent, a
District-Wide School Safety Team to develop, implement and maintain all provisions of the plan.

Within the schools, there are “building-level emergency response plans” that have been developed by response teams appointed by the building’s principals.

Some of the many guidelines in the plan include identification of sites of potential emergencies, drafting plans for responses to emergencies, including school cancellation, early dismissal, evacuation and sheltering, and how to respond to an implied or direct threat of violence.

The schools will also be subject to drills and exercises to test the safety plans and response teams.

The general plan is approved, Del Santo said, but will still get “tweaked” and the district will see “enhancements” as Del Santo meets with the district’s security committee over the first few months of the school year.

“We’re going to flesh it out a little more and if a parent is looking at it I think that they’ll be comfortable in knowing we have looked at every other possibility and potential and we have a mitigation in place,” Del Santo said.

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