District continues to focus on security

The Office of the New York State Comptroller recently audited 17 school districts, including the Fayetteville-Manlius School District, and two charter schools to determine whether the schools used their resources to develop, adopt, file and implement district-wide school safety plans and building-level emergency response plans in compliance with the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) Act.

In July 2000, the SAVE Act was signed into law to promote a safer and more effective learning environment within New York state schools. It has multiple requirements, including district-wide school safety plans, building-level emergency response plans, codes of conduct, uniform violent incident reporting, instruction in civility, citizenship and character education, and school violence prevention training.

The state released its audit findings July 25. Key findings were that schools must do more to meet the minimum SAVE Act requirements.

“We appreciate the feedback from the comptroller’s office. Outside review and feedback is critical as we continue to enhance the safety and security measures we have in place,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said.

While each school’s findings were communicated confidentially to the respective districts and the state Education Department to protect the safety and security of the students, the district is at liberty to share that the auditors recommended that the F-M school district address such items as providing acceptable documentation of safety drills and or staff trainings, including the names of those individuals who participated in them.

The faculty and student drills and trainings were occurring on a regular basis, but the auditors insisted on uniform bookkeeping procedures between all of the buildings in an effort to document that they took place.

“The auditor’s findings for Fayetteville-Manlius were items that we can easily address to be in full compliance,” Tice said. “At no time were any students or staff placed in jeopardy because of the findings identified by the auditors.”

The auditors also directed the school district to ensure that each building-level safety team include a parent representative, which would be similar to the district-level safety team, which has two parent representatives.

Finally, even though the auditors credited F-M with providing the required staff safety training sessions during the school year, they noted that some of the trainings took place after the mandated Sept. 15 deadline.

“Safety and security is something that we review and update on a continual basis,” Tice said. “We have made a number of security enhancements in recent years and will continue to do so as we implement the recommendations stemming from two independent security audits that were completed in the fall in addition to the priority areas suggested by the Community Safety and Security Task Force that met during the winter and early spring.”

Related news

CNY school districts respond to safety report from the State Comptroller’s office, localsyr.com, 7-26-19