Anxiety and New Protocols Headline Community Forum on School Safety

By Sean Fischer & Sarah Dolgin
Volume 68, Issue V

In the wake of recent school shootings, the school district administration opened a dialogue with the community regarding school safety and the many plans in place to keep students safe.

This month, Dr. Kaishian, Mr. Murphy, and Director of Facilities Mr. George Hula hosted a community forum on school safety and security. After a brief presentation, they invited parents and students to voice any concerns or offer suggestions or questions to the administration. It was quite evident that parents were understandably anxious about the possibility of our school falling victim to tragedy. While Dr. Kaishain made it abundantly clear he was working with the administration at the elementary, middle and high school levels in addition to district security guards in order to maximize our preparedness for any threats, he made sure not to discuss any explicit details about Briarcliff’s security protocols to further ensure the protection of students across the district.

While Superintendent Kaishian is doing everything within his power to keep students safe, parents still expressed concern and doubt that the district could address any and all threats. Many concerned members of the community voiced hypothetical scenarios to which it was impossible to have any answers. This was an understandable progression, but it is important to note the purpose of the forum was to gather input from the parents to influence the security measures taken to protect their children as well as to inform them of new initiatives being taken by the district.

Sixty-eight percent of all school violence is perpetrated by people who go to or work in the schools. When Kaishian brought this disturbing statistic to the table, the issue of mental health and its correlation to violence in the school environment was raised. He emphasized the myriad of staff that are available for students to talk with/seek help from, and the many more who are in the process of receiving new training to recognize the warning signs of students in need of support.

“The level of trust students and families have in confiding in an adult at school when they are concerned about a situation is perhaps the most important factor in keeping schools safe,” said Dr. Kaishian. He said students should always feel comfortable coming to an adult to talk about any unsafe situation, and that the BMUFSD mobile app has an anonymous tip line that can be utilized by students and immediately goes directly to his phone.

The staff training and technology updates, along with multiple facilities upgrades and more scenario-specific training for administrators and security guards outlined Dr. Kaishian’s plans for our district. While he did discuss certain upgrades at the forum, we think it prudent not to disclose any specifics in this publication or online.

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