May 18, 2018
Dear Catskill CSD Community:
This letter is in response to the recent school shooting incident that occurred at Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, Texas. First and foremost, my thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all affected families. These senseless tragedies remind us that life is precious and the importance of appreciating all of those around us.
Again, I want to reassure you that the Catskill CSD is proactive in ensuring that your child’s safety is paramount at all times throughout the day.
The District recently established a Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (Project SAVE) Committee. The committee meets quarterly and collaborates with law enforcement and other key community and District stakeholders to review the Code of Conduct as well as our processes, procedures and protocols around safety and security. In addition, the District is required by Education Law to practice numerous shelter-in-place, evacuation, fire, lockdown and lockout drills.
Additionally, we facilitate K-9 sweeps at our Middle and High Schools. During the K-9 sweeps, we collaborate with the Catskill PD and the New York State Police Department (K-9 units) to search the interior and exterior of our Middle and High Schools for weapons and drugs. We conducted a K-9 drill in the Fall and plan to facilitate additional drills in the very near future.
Each school has a Building Emergency Response Team. Each team consists of the building administrator and his / her staff. Each team member has a role and responsibility to respond if or when an emergency situation occurs.
DASA (Dignity for All Students Act) is also a component of school safety. Each building has two DASA coordinators. Any child and / or adult who feels harassed, bullied and / or threatened are encouraged to report any incidents to the DASA coordinators. The reports are investigated and safety plans are implemented for individuals who feel harassed, bullied and / or threatened. Lastly, the Code of Conduct is strictly enforced when or if situations arise.
Effective immediately, our students, staff and community members will notice the presence of law enforcement in our schools throughout the instructional day, as well as before and after school. Their presence is not in response to a threat or an emergency situation. In addition, the 2018-19 school year budget was recently approved, which allows us to hire four part-time armed retired officers.
In closing, please remind your child that if he / she “sees something, to say something.” Quite often, perpetrators confide with someone about what they intend to do, before they actually do it. As always, please contact me directly if you have any additional questions or concerns at (518) 943-4696.
Dr. Ronel Cook
Superintendent of Schools