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District continues to review safety and security procedures

In light of the tragedy that occurred at a Florida high school this week, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District is once again reviewing its safety and security procedures.

“While the district has implemented numerous security protocols in recent years to prepare for, and ultimately prevent, an emergency situation, we have not stopped evaluating our procedures and continue to look for ways to provide peace of mind to the family members of those who teach and learn within our buildings,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said.

F-M staff and faculty consistently go through safety and security trainings, and students routinely practice numerous types of safety and security drills. The district partners and trains with local police, fire and emergency response personnel and has developed district wide and school specific safety plans with their input. In the past, district officials have conducted tabletop crisis drills in conjunction with these emergency response agencies.

The district also has held active shooter training for staff members and is in the process of organizing and scheduling additional training for the current year, Dr. Tice said.

When district officials review safety protocols with staff members and students, they focus on what signs to watch for that could preempt a crisis situation and how to respond if an event occurs.

“All members of the F-M community are encouraged to notify a staff member if they see or hear of concerning behavior,” Dr. Tice said. “If you see or hear something, say something.”

While the district has already taken numerous steps to secure its facilities, at a recent facilities committee meeting, before the Feb. 14 school shootings in Florida, board of education members discussed the need for a safety and security audit to be conducted in concert with the upcoming capital project work.

Currently, all F-M school buildings have a single-point of entry, and those doors are locked during the school day so that visitors must buzz in to request entry. The district uses the Raptor V-soft system, which allows a staff member to swipe through a scanner a visitor’s license or other state-issued identification, instantly screening for registered sex offenders, domestic dispute offenders and other trespassers.

When a visitor is cleared, the Raptor system prints a badge featuring that person’s name, photo, date, time and destination. If a potential threat is identified, Raptor instantly alerts designated officials, such as administrators and law enforcement via email, telephone and/or text messaging.

The district added a second full-time Manlius police officer to its school resource officer program this year. In addition, the high school has supervision aides that work with the resource officers to monitor activity within the district’s largest building.

Moreover, security cameras are stationed across the district so that building entrances and other areas of school campuses may be monitored, and staff members use and have access to walkie-talkies and cell phones so that communication channels are open between staff, administrators and law enforcement.

“Our hearts are heavy this week as we digest the news of yet another senseless tragedy in one of our nation’s schools. While we have made significant safety and security enhancements, we know we cannot become complacent,” Dr. Tice said. “We continue to evaluate what we do to keep our students and staff safe and look for ways to make improvements to provide even greater levels of security in our schools. The preliminary budget draft for 2018-19 addresses additional safety and security measures in addition to allowing the district to respond to mental health concerns. I look forward to sharing more information as budget development unfolds in the weeks and months ahead.”