Incident in Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School…

Written by on February 15, 2018 in District News

The incident in Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was a terrible tragedy and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to that entire community.

As a school district, one of our primary concerns is the issue of student and staff safety. When a tragedy occurs, it always forces us to once again take a look at what we currently have in place and what we can learn from that incident.

Shenendehowa’s District-wide Emergency Response Team, constantly reviews our current practices related to school safety. This team includes board members, students, teachers, administrators, parents, school safety personnel, law enforcement and first responders.

As a result of their efforts, the district has enhanced safety practices and protocols over the years including:

  • The development of District-wide School Emergency Response Plan and Building-level Emergency Response Plans (see BOE Policy 5681)
  • Surveillance cameras installed throughout the district inside and out.
  • Locked doors with buzz-in systems installed in all school buildings.  
  • Staff training in crisis management, mass casualty, active shooter drills and identifying  students who may be a threat to self and others.
  • Increased mental health services and training. Our professional staff is trained to identify signs that may be cause for concern (see the district’s Mental Health webpage).
  • Increased collaboration with the N.Y.S. Police and Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department.
  • Implementation of employee badges and most recently the district is now in the process of producing badges that will be used by staff as their key to get in and out of the buildings.
  • Consistent communication with students and staff about the sense of responsibility with “see (or hear) something, say something.” At the high school, signs posted with an text number for students or staff to send a text if they see something or hear something.
  • Implementation of an after-hours emergency number that goes directly to the district’s 24-7 security personnel (518-371-4004)

Open communications with parents, students and staff is a critical part of any safety plan. The school community should see the district as a resource and contact the principal or other administrator if they think a child is displaying symptoms of distress or they hear about things on social media that sound questionable.

School safety is a community responsibility and the work is  continuous. Until there are laws that get the weapons of mass destruction off the streets, we will unfortunately face the threat of such realities.

As always we appreciate your concern and support as we work together in responding to these horrific events.


Dr. L. Oliver Robinson