Health & Safety
The Arkport Central School District recognizes that safety and security are high priorities in the education of children. The district has a safety plan in accordance with Commissioner's Regulations 155.17. The Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act (SAVE) was passed by the New York State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Pataki on July 24, 2000. The New York State Board of Regents approved amendments to the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education as emergency measures in November 2000 to ensure compliance with the new legislation.
The District-wide School Safety and School Building Emergency Response Plans are intended to provide the means for each school district and all the buildings in the district to respond to acts of violence and other disasters through prevention, intervention, emergency response, and management.
In keeping with the nationwide and county strategy of developing an integrated management system, the plan is concerned with all types of emergency situations that may develop. It also accounts for activities before, during, and after emergency operations.
The plan is evaluated at regular intervals and updated as necessary. This information contains highlights from the plan. The entire plan, with the exception of those portions that the state deems confidential to protect the security of district buildings, is available by contacting the district's Superintendent, at 607-295-7471.
Identification of sites of potential emergency
• Natural Disasters: Analysis of weather patterns and previous disasters indicates that the highest likelihood of a natural disaster would be from a severe and sudden winter storm. Severe thunderstorms with high winds have also been known to cause significant damage in the area. While there is low historical risk of a tornado, shifts in weather patterns could increase the probability of one occurring in this area. There is a moderate likelihood of damage from earthquake, hurricane path storms, and flooding, though flooding is not likely to effect the main school building in the Arkport Central School District.
• Manmade Disasters: Possible manmade disasters and subsequent emergency procedures could include, but not limited to, plane crashes, toxic releases from railway or highway accidents, chemical spills, and the remote possibility of nuclear disaster.
• School Disasters: Acts of violence, fire, explosion, water line breaks, or toxic substance release could occur, therefore, protocols and provisions for these types of will be included in the plan.
Identification of District Resources For Use During An Emergency:
In the event of an emergency in a school building, the building safety team will be initiated. When deemed necessary, 911 is to be called immediately by the appointed member of the Building Safety Team.
In order to ensure timely response, the Superintendent, Head Building Maintenance Mechanic, Director of Student Services, or the principal may declare a state of school emergency, immediately implementing the Emergency Management Plan as delineated by the District-wide School Safety Plan. As soon as feasible, the Emergency Command Center will be placed in service, and the Emergency Management Committee will report there. The Emergency Management's Co-coordinator will remain in charge of all school activities until the conclusion of the emergency or until civil emergency authorities take command of the situation.
In the case of an emergency encompassing a wider area than just the school location, the Emergency Management Coordinator shall establish contact with the BOCES Superintendent, as a communication link with the County Emergency Management Office, and shall work in cooperation with the County Emergency Management Office.
In the case of an emergency involving the use of fire or police resources, the Emergency Management Coordinator shall yield command to the appropriate Emergency Authority, and shall work cooperatively with the on-site commander to ensure optimal response.
On a daily basis, there are 8 bus drivers and 8 buses available to transport students. Additional resources are available from the following neighboring school districts: Alfred-Almond Central School District, Hornell City School District, Canaseraga Central School District and local agencies such as the Greater Southern Tier BOCES, Arkport Town, Arkport Volunteer Fire Department, Stueben County Sheriff's Department, and New York State Police.
Each classroom in the district has an intercom and telephone. The main office has a dedicated outside line. The main school building possesses personal loudspeakers for communication when telephone is non-operational, and the school possesses two-way radios for building safety team responding staff for communication during an emergency. The main office possesses a fax machine. Computers are in each classroom in the district.
The district also possesses an in-house health office, which has emergency first aid supplies (at the minimum a first aid "jump bag"). Each bus in the transportation department and each vehicle in the facilities department possess an emergency first aid kit.
In order to implement this plan effectively, all faculty and staff will receive appropriate training in emergency procedures. Special emphasis will be placed on training for the school secretary, custodial/maintenance staff, school nurse, and backup personnel.
At least once every school year, Arkport Central School District will coordinate and conduct a test of the Emergency Management for sheltering or early dismissal. Transportation and communication procedures shall be included in the test. Parents and guardians shall be notified in writing at least one week prior to such drills.
Emergency Evacuation Drill - At least once every school year, the school will practice an emergency evacuation drill. Buses will be practicing emergency responses to establish the response time for assembling buses to transport students and staff to a sheltering site.
Sheltering Drill - Upon notification of a drill, the principal shall direct students and staff to designated areas or remain in classrooms as appropriate. Designated assembly areas must be located on building maps available in the Building-level Safety Plan.
Early Dismissal - Students will be released to their assigned buses when such buses are announced as available. Normal bus schedules will be advanced fifteen (15) minutes for the early dismissal drill.
Fire Drills - All schools will hold the state-required number of fire drills throughout the school year.
The Arkport Central School District will participate in the following:
1. Annually - All school personnel will receive a copy of the District-Wide Safety Plan with updates.
2. Annually - All building personnel will receive the building safety plan and training on the use of the plan and the role of each person in an emergency situation. The booklet of protocols will be reviewed.
3. Annually - Building Emergency Response Team will practice at least one drill and do annual review of responses.
4. Annually - The District-Trained Safety Team will conduct at least one building search and clearance drill.
5. The Safety Committee will meet on a quarterly basis with the Superintendent to maintain lines of communication of safety needs.
6. Following all annual drills, there will be debriefing sessions with involved staff, local law enforcement agents, local emergency response agents to improve response measures and communication.
Policies for dealing with these violent acts, whether implied or direct, are governed by the School Code of Conduct. In short, school policies and responses will be activated with law enforcement agencies involvement where necessary. Additional services of counseling and follow up actions may be available for the offending student and victims of the violence.
Zero Tolerance policies will be used when dealing with acts of violence, as outlined in the School Code of Conduct.
If appropriate, Law Enforcement Officials will be notified by the Building Principal or the Superintendent's Office.
EMERGENCY SCHOOL CLOSINGS
School is closed only when the weather makes it impossible to have reasonable attendance or when the school or vehicles would not be able to operate safely. The school day is delayed only when inclement weather conditions improve by early morning. If it is necessary to close or delay schools, students and parents will be notified in the early morning on area radio and television stations. Staff will be notified through established call chains.
Due to the fact that drivers are not readily available during the day, early dismissal is an option only in the most unusual circumstances. The District's Emergency Management Emergency Call Chain will be activated.
Early dismissal may be considered as an option in the following circumstances: flood warning, severe windstorm, snowstorm, or tornado warning, fire, strategic alert, post disaster.
Early dismissal should be used only if it is likely that all students will reach their homes safely and be reunited with a family member or other responsible person. If a community-wide disaster is impending, it may be preferable to evacuate the students to a safe location where parents can pick them up. (These locations are indicated in the Building level Safety Plan.)
The decision for early dismissal shall be announced on the public address system, and any bus loading procedures that must be changed from normal routine will be announced. The Principal shall facilitate and supervise the rapid loading of school buses.
It is appropriate to evacuate a school building in the event of fire, explosion, some toxic chemical releases, after earthquakes, violent acts, or when ordered by law enforcement officers because of dangerous activity in the area. The signal to evacuate the buildings will be given followed by specific verbal instructions. Building-level Safety Plan will be activated immediately.
When this command is given, all groups will evacuate the building as quickly as possible. Normal fire evacuation routes shall be used unless teachers are instructed otherwise. The first person through each exit door will hold it open.
Teachers will be required to bring their class lists with them, assemble and count their students at the designated assembly at least 75 feet away from the building. They will immediately notify the principal of any missing students.
No one is to reenter the building until an appropriate authority gives an all clear.
If a parent wishes to take a child home during an emergency, the parent must notify the child's teacher and sign the student out with the building principal.
Evacuating to Another Site
Depending on the scope of the emergency, and the projections of likely safe areas, designated gathering points for evacuated students and staff will be activated and are indicated in the Building-level Safety Plan.
In the event of an evacuation, the clerical staff and the school nurse shall be responsible for taking class lists, medical information list, and sign-out forms to the evacuation site. The principal’s secretary shall be responsible for having parents sign out to pick up their children from the evacuation site.
SHELTERING IN PLACE
Certain emergencies in the community may make it advisable for students and staff to remain in school beyond the end of the normal school day. Students will normally remain in their classrooms, but groups may be taken to such places as the gymnasium and/or cafeteria. In the case of high winds and tornadoes, these areas must not be used, and students should be prepared to move into the hallways marked for protective sheltering. These areas are delineated in the Building-level Safety Plan.
In case of such emergency, the principal shall give directions over the public address system. Teachers moving students from their classrooms must take their class lists and accompany their children to the designated area.
Staff will stay with the students until formally relieved of their duties by their supervisor.
In the instance of extended sheltering-in-place, the Emergency Management Co-coordinators shall notify the County Emergency Management Office, and shall seek a Declaration of Emergency from the County Executive so that the Red Cross can authorize the formal opening of a shelter, thus providing additional resources to site.
The superintendent or designee will then assume coordinating responsibility with the Red Cross, and will be responsible for maintaining order and handling logistics throughout the period during which shelter is needed.
Protocols and Standard Operating Procedures
Protocols and standard operating procedures for specific emergencies are included in the Building Safety Plan. These protocols are confidential by their nature and according to state law.
Messages regarding school early dismissal, sheltering in place or evacuation of a school will be sent to the broadcast media through the district's Superintendent. The Superintendent shall issue all public communications, prepare news releases, and brief the media as appropriate. When appropriate, the Superintendent will coordinate activities with the county emergency public information officer. No Arkport Central School District employee will provide information to the media during or after an emergency unless specifically authorized to do so.
Obtaining Advice and Assistance from Local Government Officials
Members of the District-wide Safety Team will meet with county and village office on an annual basis to review plans and assistance procedures. A list shall be maintained of all copyholders of the plan. The plan shall be evaluated and updated after each drill. All changes other than those in names and phone numbers of personnel shall be listed on the Plan Modification Record Form and shall be forwarded to all copyholders of the plan and the State Education Department.
PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION STRATEGIES
A. School Building Security
As part of a recent capital project the following security measures will be taken. In some cases, the security measures have already been instituted.
1. The school hall doors have been installed to isolate areas and corridors of the school from public access during outside of school hour activities. These areas are to be sanitized by the cleaning staff prior to being locked. These areas will be used as secured areas in the event of a sheltering emergency.
2. Security systems will be installed to provide on-going visual access to hallways and building traffic areas. The security cameras will be evaluated for optimum use and security.
3. Continued use of the District's Head Building Maintenance Mechanic to evaluate the effectiveness of security measures.
4. Continued use of the District's Safety Committee to monitor health and safety measures in the district.
5. Use of identification badges for all present and new employees.
B. Dissemination of Informative Materials for Early Detection of Potentially Violent Behaviors
1. Use of online resources to broadcast information regarding violent behavior.
2. Staff development and in-service programs will be used to offer programs and training in detecting and/or deterring violent behaviors.
3. Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Training will be offered to all appropriate staff members in the district.
4. Use of area colleges and university specialists will be used to offer assistance for training for detecting and/or deterring violent behavior.
5. Area emergency management and crisis intervention specialists will be utilized to present training programs for staff members.
6. Mandatory training will take place for new hires in detecting and/or deterring violent behaviors.
7. Staff development days as forums to discuss and train for detecting and/or deterring violent behavior.
8. District administrators in curriculum and staff development will be utilized to plan for and design district-wide staff development programs.
9. The district website will be used to disseminate information to parents and staff members.
C. Prevention and Intervention Strategies
1. The Superintendent will meet on a regular basis with administrators to maintain updated information and feedback when needed.
2. The Superintendent will meet on a regular basis with local law enforcement officials to conduct ongoing review of the District-wide Safety Plan.
3. At the school level:
1. Using agencies such as Concern for Youth to promote conflict resolution and peer mediation programs.
2. The school will include a program of Character Education as part of the school's curriculum.
D. Strategies for Improving Communication Among Students and Between Students and Staff - Reporting of Potentially Violent Incidents.
• Staff Development programs will be instituted to help staff members open communication with students
• Work collaboratively with student organizations to establish a student hotlines
• Investigate the need to establish anonymous reporting mechanisms for school violence
E. Description of Duties, Hiring and Screening Process, and Required Training of Hall Monitors and other safety personnel
As with all new employees, they must meet with the Superintendent or his designee for certain orientation issues. This area will have further investigation to determine the need for extended training.
All staff members must have visible identification badges.
Staff Development programs will be investigated to be offered to all support personnel in detecting and/or deterring violent behaviors.
Screening procedures as outlined by the SAVE regulations will be followed for all regular and/or substitute personnel.