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Apr 21, 2018
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District NEWS

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December 17, 2012

Update and letter from Superintendent McGrath

District to take immediate safety steps, work on medium-term and long-term changes too

 After a weekend spent in communication with his administrative team, today in a letter to district parents and staff superintendent Patrick McGrath outlined several safety improvements to be taken in district schools.

The letter cites several changes he is instituting immediately as well as "medium-term" and "long-term" improvements that are being researched.

"There is a growing field of expertise on school security and best practices that can be implemented to increase the safety of our students and staff," he says.

Effective immediately, there will be a staff member placed at the single point of entry into each school, who will greet visitors, check that they have a staff ID badge, or issue them a visitor pass.

This system is already in place at the high school. At the middle school and elementary schools, signs inside the front entrance have asked that visitors go to the office to sign themselves in, but not all visitors have done this.

McGrath's letter also reminds staff to be more vigilant in following already established safety procedures, including wearing their ID badges and ensuring that all entrances except the main entrance are kept locked from the outside during the day.

Some changes will take more time

McGrath plans to add more security cameras to the schools and says the district is researching the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a comprehensive electronic card access system for staff.

Structural changes to improve security at some school entrances could also be included in the public renovations referendum that is planned form October 2013.

Those interested in more information can also read an overview of safety policies and procedures at BH-BL.

Some tips on talking to your children about scary news

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district offers its condolences to all the families in Connecticut affected by today's brutal and senseless violence at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you. As President Obama said this afternoon, "Our hearts are broken today."

In the wake of today's shooting -- and knowing that a steady diet of fear and violence on television is especially disturbing to children -- we share the following tips for parents on how to help your children and how to talk to them about scary topics such as school shootings:


Safety is always a primary concern

As a school district, a primary concern in everything we do at BH-BL is safety. When a tragedy like this occurs, it reminds us to again review the policies and procedures we have in place and learn what we can from the incident.

Administrators will be meeting early next week to discuss short-term and long-term responses to this issue.