Hudson Valley Parent

HVP July 2019

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16 Hudson Valley Parent n July 2019 required to develop codes of conduct, create uniform incident reporting, instructions in civility, provide citizenship and character education, and school violence prevention training. District-wide safety plans are publicly available on each district's website. Schools are focused on students' physical and emotional safety The Superintendent of each school district acts as the Chief Emergency Officer and is responsible for ensuring that plans are updated annually, staff understands and implements plans appropriately and coordinates with local first responders. Mark Villanti, Superintendent of Spackenkill Union Free School District, acknowledges the on-going need for improvements. "There are two basic categories that every district focuses upon in school safety...hardening the environment (physical items) and softening the environment (people, relationships and training)." Many schools today aren't simply focusing on upgrading security systems. They are focusing By ROXANNE FERBER F or years, schools have mandated safety drills to prepare students, teachers and administrators for emergency situations. However, schools now are continuously advancing safety precautions to be more careful than ever. From installing security systems, to upgrading sign-in procedures and parent communication systems, schools are making significant efforts for safety, violence prevention and threat response. It is only natural to worry about our children while we are apart. So how do we prepare them and ourselves for emergencies that occur during the school day? The Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act (or Project SAVE) was signed into law in July 2000. It requires every school district to develop a safety plan to address emergencies and threats of violence. Plans must outline protocols for threat assessment, reporting incidents of violence and building level emergency response procedures. School districts are also on developing social emotional education programs such as anti- bullying campaigns and curricula that promote positive character traits. Schools also establish behavioral support teams and threat assessment teams to identify kids who may be at risk for harming themselves or others. Villanti also notes, "One of the greatest changes in recent years seem to be the increasing number of mental health issues among our students especially at an earlier age. Our counselors, staff and building leaders are very focused on working with families to provide for the emotional wellbeing of children through access to community mental health care and by developing greater social - emotional programs in our schools." There is always more to be done The legislation outlined in Project SAVE requires administrators at individual school buildings to create protocols based on the logistical needs of their school. While the district-wide regulations outlined in the Project SAVE Laws are public, the individual Is your child prepared for an emergency in their school? Mothers and administrators discuss safety in schools

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