Safety and security remains top priority at F-M

The attention of Fayetteville-Manlius School District officials continues to focus on student and staff safety.

In a March 11 letter to F-M parents and guardians, Superintendent Dr. Craig J. Tice said the district is continuing its efforts to address school safety and security measures by examining and, in some cases, enhancing emergency plans, staff development and training, and building-level programs, such as character education and bullying prevention initiatives.

As they develop a budget for the 2018-19 school year, F-M Board of Education members are looking to secure resources for additional security cameras, a third school information resource officer and more school social workers. Board members are also considering establishing a community safety and security task force comprising of various F-M residents and representatives, similar to the one created last year for facilities planning.

To increase connection with the student-body, Dr. Tice said the district is exploring hosting internal “town hall” meetings at which students will have an opportunity to share their thoughts and feedback on various topics.

Also in his letter to families, Dr. Tice addressed the recent attention focusing on student walkout events taking place across the country, including one planned during school hours on March 14, the one-month anniversary of the tragic shootings at a Parkland, Florida school.

While some F-M students may choose to participate in the walkout, the event is not school sponsored and students may face disciplinary action if they violate the district’s Code of Conduct, which outlines school expectations and consequences, according to Dr. Tice.

“Since the United States Supreme Court has ruled that students do not shed their First Amendment Rights at the school house door, those students who elect to participate in the walk-out cannot receive more severe consequences than students who violate the school attendance policy for other reasons,” he said.

Each school building plans to designate a supervised indoor venue in the event of inclement weather for students who wish to exercise their First Amendment rights on Wednesday. In an effort to keep students safe, custodial and maintenance staff will restrict vehicular access to each campus in order to limit the traffic flow. The Town of Manlius Police Department has agreed to provide additional campus security, if needed.

“Because school is still in session and teachers will continue to teach during the walk-out, we expect many students to remain in class so that they do not miss any of the instruction,” Dr. Tice said.

Optional activities designed to empower students, spread kindness and remember Parkland students that do not require students to leave class and miss instructional time are also being offered this week at the middle and high school level, and character education curriculum will continue at F-M’s three elementary schools.