Superintendent Update - Informational about District Security/Safety Work- Non-Urgent

Posted by Victoria Jackson on 6/7/2022

Dear Beacon Community:

I know last week was hard for all of us due to the tragic mass shooting in Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.  I wanted to take an opportunity to review several school safety/security initiatives we have undertaken over the past few years.  In short, safety is our highest priority and one we focus on daily.  Below are some of the key initiatives we have worked on.

District and Building Emergency Planning

The district and each of our school buildings have emergency plans that are updated and reviewed every year.  Our buildings have secured doors and one point of entry for visitors to schools.  Visitors are screened by our security staff and identification has to be presented and checked.  

Positive Relationship with the Beacon Police Department and the Town of Fishkill Police Department

Our local law enforcement agencies are involved in all of our state-required school lockdown drills.  They regularly tour all of our buildings and work closely with our administrative team.  They also help to provide security at our largest events like Friday night football games which attract hundreds of spectators.  We are grateful for our ongoing and positive working relationship and appreciate all of the support they give us.

Altaris Security Consulting

In the winter of 2017, we hired Altaris Security Consulting through a BOCES contract to provide us with a full security audit of all of the buildings in the district.  Altaris works with a large number of school districts in the region on improving school and district safety and security.   They also provide training to our administrative team, guidance to our District Emergency Response Team, and ongoing support to all of our Building Emergency Response teams as well.  

BCSD Director of Security and the Security Team

We established the Director of Security position in the spring of 2017.  Our Director of Security, Mark Thomas who is retired from the Beacon Police Department, works with all of our school security staff and building and district administration to provide day-to-day security for school, after-school and weekend events, and anything else that comes up.  Mark also works closely with each building on drills and reviews security concerns on a regular basis with each school.  Our school security team does an excellent job monitoring our buildings.

Investment in Upgrading External and Internal Security Systems

This past summer and during this school year, the BCSD had all of our security cameras replaced and every building was outfitted with a lockdown system that alerts the police immediately when a school goes into lockdown.  We used New York Smart Bond money instead of district funds for these needed upgrades of our security technology infrastructure.

Increased Mental Health Funding

Over the past three years, the BCSD has added two full-time social workers to the secondary level to assist with growing mental health needs.  Rombout and Beacon High School have two psychologists, and four social workers combined.  Each elementary school has a psychologist and social worker as well.  In next year’s budget, we added a one-year position to foster restorative practices and peer mediation programs at the high school and have increased funding for social/emotional programming at the elementary and middle school levels.

Anonymous Tip Line

The district has an anonymous tip line on our website for all to use to share concerns with district administrators anonymously.  Here is what it looks like at the top of our website or you can use this link: https://www.beaconk12.org/Page/1938

Communication

We use our school messenger system when issues of safety and security arise during the school year.  More general and/or non-urgent updates are done through email and if messages are time-sensitive we will add a text and phone call aspect to the message.

The Work is Ongoing

We constantly refine and revise our safety and security planning.  We take it very seriously in the Beacon City School District and please let us know if you have any feedback, questions, or concerns.

Thanks,

Matt Landahl