As we embark on a new school year, our community, and every community across the nation, wants and expects schools to be safe places to drop off our most precious resources – our children.
The Wayland-Cohocton School District has taken great strides to provide a safe learning environment and to help our students feel connected through relationships so that they know every day we care about them. We have implemented comprehensive security measures on both campuses to increase the safety of our students and staff. We have also implemented a number of policies and practices as well.
District Wide Safety Procedures:
As Wayland-Cohocton opens its buildings for the 2018-2019 school year, there are a number of safety and security items you may, or may not, be aware of so we would like to take this opportunity to review them.
- A card access system allows the district to lock down all doors remotely. It also notifies staff and law enforcement in the event that a lockdown is initiated.
- Raptor Visitor Screening System in each of the main offices requires that all visitors must have their state-issued identification scanned upon entering the building. As a district we want have the best possible knowledge about the people we invite into in the building with our children.
- District-wide surveillance cameras monitor halls and gathering spaces in the event we need to review incidents or manage situations remotely.
- Background checks are required for employees and vendors. This is particularly important when vendors are providing services in our buildings during the school day while children are in attendance.
- A school resource officer not only provides additional security measures for the building, but works with students and staff to educate our community on safety issues, personal safety and positive behaviors. In addition, the school resource officer looks to build relationships with staff and students so that when the need arises, both have someone they can trust and from whom they can ask for help.
- Employee are required to wear district identification badges.
- Controlled entrance points are located in all of our buildings which, require visitors to enter through a main office and be logged into the building.
- Safety drills, which can seem bothersome and stressful at times, allow us to practice for an emergency situation. During such drills we are also able to pinpoint problems and work out issues before a true need arises.
- A recently installed alert system placed blue strobe lights on key points of the exterior of the buildings. Should a lockdown be initiated, these lights will flash on all sides of the building, serving as a signal that the facility is in lockdown and entry is prohibited. The district advises the community and visitors to the schools that if they see the strobes activated, they should return to their vehicle at once and leave the scene, as a critical incident may be unfolding.
While these new measures may seem bothersome at times, the reality of needing them to provide increased safety in lieu of current concerns is certain. While we as a district can implement the policies, practices and equipment to provide a safe district, we also rely heavily on our students, staff and families to make the use of such tools effective.
Community members and families can help by honoring the entry points and not letting people in at locations that are locked. If you see someone entering the building or not checking in to an office, do not hesitate to identify them. If you hear or see behavior that makes you uncomfortable, report immediately to the nearest staff or faculty. If you see that any of these policies are not effective, please take the opportunity to discuss with school administration. While we work to provide the most effective safety practices on our two campuses, we also understand there are always ways to improve.
While we want to make sure our children feel safe and relaxed while in their schools to learn, the reality is we must address the ongoing safety and security issues we have seen other schools confronted with. Please continue to share with us your ideas and concerns. Through effective partnership and open communication we can continue to improve our district and provide the safest learning environment for our children.