The following letter from Superintendent Jeff Simons was sent to all staff and parents/guardians on Tuesday, September 12.
Dear EGCSD Community:
For the second day in a row, our school district was the target of a threatening phone call and we responded by evaluating the threat and then entering a Secured Lockout. It is understandable that students, staff and families may feel unsettled, scared or frustrated by the events of this week or all of the above. I share these feelings with you. I will never understand why some people want to scare or hurt kids and educators.
Threats such as the district has received in the last two days are treated seriously. All school districts in our region, including ours, participate in ongoing safety and emergency response training which includes threat assessment protocols.
Our actions to address such threats are taken in consultation with law enforcement. The implementation of a Secured Lockout provides the measures we need to ensure that no unwelcome visitors are permitted into the school and that students remain within the school building including during recess or physical education periods. Law enforcement assists school staff in supervising students during school entry times and during dismissal from school. Enhanced visitor protocols are in place throughout the day and we have an increased police presence at each school. The district strives to maintain a normal school day with classes, special area subjects such as art, music, library and physical education and lunches all taking place and with students moving freely within the buildings.
Students who need to leave the school building for educational programs including BOCES Career and Technical Education classes and workplace learning sites are supervised by school administration, school safety personnel and police officers who serve as School Resource Officers.
Earlier today, we communicated to our staff and families that local, state and federal law enforcement officials are investigating these threats. Please know that I, and members of our administrative team and staff are working closely with law enforcement to ensure we maintain an appropriate response to the threats, prepare in the event we receive additional threats and are coordinating available information and resources to determine the source of the threats.
In the meantime, out of an abundance of caution, we will continue to start each day under a Secured Lockout until further notice. This means we will have regular school days but with the additional safety protocols remaining in place. The district is also prepared in the event that the facts and circumstances change on a given day and require our schools to shift to stricter emergency response protocols.
Please know that the East Greenbush Central School District makes students, staff and visitor safety our top priority. Some of our safety measures include:
- District-wide Safety Plan and Building Level Safety Plans
- District-wide Safety Committee to discuss health and safety topics and initiatives
- Safety teams in each school
- Locked single point of entry at all schools
- All visitors must sign-in at a locked security vestibule
- Security cameras monitor school entrances and surrounding areas
- All schools have an integrated security system with the ability to lockdown buildings
- All schools engage in a comprehensive set of safety drills
- Safety training provided to staff annually during Superintendent’s Conference Days
Additionally, we have a close working relationship with our law enforcement partners from multiple jurisdictions and are actively involved in regional school safety forums. I appreciate the actions of law enforcement personnel who continue to support our schools.
Please contact me should you have any questions or concerns regarding the recent threats to our schools. We will continue to do everything we can to keep students, employees and visitors safe.
Superintendent of Schools