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
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.
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.
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
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:
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.