New York Districts Fail to Meet State Requirements for District Safety Plans

New York Districts Fail to Meet State Requirements for District Safety Plans

Some school districts in New York failed to meet minimum state requirements for district safety plans. The districts must now revise their safety plans.

At least 17 school districts in New York failed to meet the minimum state requirements for district safety plans, according to a new report from the state Comptroller’s Office.

According to The Daily Gazette, the main reasons many of the districts did not pass included the process of developing the plan, providing for public comments and having the school board annually adopt the plan, but some districts failed to provide staff with required training and include all necessary positions on district safety teams.

“New York’s schools must be better prepared for emergencies and violent incidents,” Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement with the audit’s release. “We found too many schools had gaps in their safety plans that could leave them unprepared if a shooting or life-threatening incident occurred.”

The Schenectady district will update their safety plan and address the areas identified in the comptroller’s report. The updated safety plan, which has not yet been approved, has references to partnering with the city Police and Fire departments. The updated plan will put a large emphasis on prevention and intervention, and trying to remedy problems before they become dangerous issues.

“The Schenectady City School District recognizes the importance of programs and activities that improve communication throughout the school community and that encourage reporting of potentially dangerous, suspicious or violent behavior,” according to the district safety plan.

Fewer than half the districts examined designated a chief emergency office, defined the duties of school safety positions, outlined strategies for improving communications among students and staff or detailed certain training requirements, according to auditors in the Comptroller’s Office.

Karen Corona, the Schenectady district spokeswoman, said that not all of the districts had the same issues, but many of them had at least one issue, which means they could help each other understand the safety requirements.

About the Author

Kaitlyn DeHaven is the Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

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    September/October 2019

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