School Safety & Education Updates
January 18, 2019:
December 7, 2018:
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I would like to provide you with an update regarding school safety and security and our progress with the District’s current security projects.
Based on the recommendations from last year’s security audit, we have moved forward with hiring a dedicated Supervisor of Security with expertise in the area of law enforcement and security. This person will:
- assess our current security and safety protocols and identify any gaps,
- work closely with district and building administrators on safety and security matters,
- assist with the implementation of recommendations from the security report,
- train our faculty, staff, and students.
There have been a few incidents in our buildings this year. Having someone with experience and who is dedicated to school safety and security is needed.
Below is an update on additional items we have completed or are in the process of completing:
- Installation of six door alarms on exterior doors at Stewart.
- Installation of door alarms on exterior doors at Stratford – in process.
- Monitoring of all exterior doors through a live video feed at Stewart and Stratford until
the vestibule project is completed.
- Custom doors and wall partitions have been ordered to seal the areas between the two
sets of entry doors for the school vestibule project at Stratford School, Middle School and
- Outside groups (i.e. blood drive) will no longer be permitted inside our buildings during
school hours where safety is compromised.
- Implementation of new dismissal procedures at our primary and elementary buildings.
- Added exterior drop-off bins at the Middle School to minimize the number of people
entering the building during the school day.
- A Visitor Management System has been selected.
- Addition of GPS and cameras to our buses is in progress.
- Access to real-time camera viewing of every building to the Garden City Police
Our focus continues to be the safety of our staff and students. Training for both groups is an essential part of keeping our schools as safe as possible. We continue to work very closely with the Garden City Police Department to ensure the security of our buildings and explore ways to enhance school security. We greatly appreciate the support of Commissioner Jackson and his team.
Safety and security also includes the relationships we build with our children. We will continue to create schools that are safe, welcoming, and where students feel a sense of belonging. That feeling of belonging is key to academic growth, but it’s also essential in creating a safe environment.
We will do everything within our power to continually create safe and secure learning environments where our children have the opportunity to excel. Your children are our priority, and we thank you for the privilege of working with them every single day.
Kusum Sinha, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Last fall, Garden City School District’s Board of Education contracted with Covert Investigations, a K-12 school-based security firm, to assess the District’s security equipment and procedures. This assessment was conducted in conjunction with the Garden City Police Department and Homeland Security-TAS.
At the June 5th Work Session, a confidential report was presented to the Board of Education and a public summary provided in open session. During the public session, Assistant Superintendent for Business & Finance, Ms. Dana DiCapua, presented a list of items that have been completed, as well as those in progress. Covert Investigations and Superintendent Dr. Alan Groveman provided an overview of the security assessment and general plans for the future. Many specific items could not be discussed publicly as they could negatively affect the District’s ongoing security. Listed below are the items that were reviewed:
- The District entered into an agreement with the Village so that GC Police now have access to all District cameras as a live feed in any emergency. GCPD has been providing training for their officers in coordinating on-site and video activities. They are providing the District with suggestions as to additional coverage areas.
- Together with Commissioner Jackson, we have implemented a system to permit Police Officers to access any building in an emergency even in the event of a complete lockdown.
- GC Police Department has detailed maps/photos of the interior every school building keyed to a numerical classroom identification system and tied into the video surveillance system.
- Central Office staff meet regularly with the GC Police Commissioner to review specific incidents and students, as well as general concerns and updates on security from other sources.
- GC Police regularly do building/grounds walk-throughs and building-based training.
- After any incident, a post-incident debriefing and analysis is conducted by the District and GCPD in order to improve future responses. This has and does provide valuable guidelines for training, standard operating procedures, policies, and equipment.
- Enhanced training covering safety protocols has been provided to administrators and staff.
- As part of the last Bond, the District replaced every interior door lock in every building; the door locks were designed so one key will lock any classroom door K-12. Once locked in an actual emergency, the doors are not opened except by a uniformed Police Officer.
- Over the last four years, we have added interior and exterior cameras at all schools; with input from a school security firm, the number of cameras were increased to provide greater coverage.
- The District completed an upgrade to all door card readers; we now have the ability to disable card readers in the case of an emergency.
- The District completed a telephone/PA integration system with any-phone access, for lock down, lock out, etc. that can be pushed out to every phone/intercom in every building.
- The District is installing one-button locks and strobes to provide for quicker reaction to emergencies. We are adding additional door alarms to prevent doors from being left in the open position.
- As of 7/1/18, the District is adding a computer-based Visitor Management System; and additional security cameras.
- The Technology Department is working with Nassau BOCES to provide a comprehensive audit and test of cyber security.
- Staff are receiving additional training in first aid, bleeding control, and other recognized best practices from around the country.
- GC buses will be implemented with security cameras and GPS tracking devices.
- Bus drivers are receiving additional training in emergency recognition and response.
- The District is reviewing proposals for the addition of security personnel, “hardening” of entrance areas and classrooms, additional backup systems, and on-going training of all staff.
- The District is reviewing proposals for parent safety training coordinated with the PTAs.
- The District is reviewing all practices related to entry into the schools by students, staff, parents, and vendors both during and outside of the school day.