Safety & Security Message from the Superintendent

Safety & Security Message from the Superintendent
Posted on 03/01/2018

Dear Families/Caregivers and Staff,

Following up on my emails regarding the Parkland, FL tragedy, I want to reiterate that the safety of our students is our number one priority. We work with all of stakeholders—students, parents/caregivers, teachers and school staff—to gauge concerns. As no community is immune to random acts of violence, we collaborate with our administrators and local and state law enforcement officials to enact measures to keep students safe.

Many of the safety and security protocols we have implemented are not public. I understand your frustration in not knowing exactly what we are doing, but revealing operational details would blunt their effectiveness.

That said, I would like to share with you a top-line list of safety initiatives that lie at the heart of our school safety program.

  • At least two drills a month in each school, including a fire drill and a lock down, intruder or other serious emergency drill are completed by law.
  • Alternate evacuation sites have been selected in collaboration with the Montclair Police Department for all of our schools.
  • A Uniform State Memorandum of Agreement that is a contract between education and law enforcement officials required by NJAC 6A:16-6.2(b) is in place and is revised and approved annually. This enables us to respond immediately to threats and emergencies.
  • Security cameras are installed at all schools.
  • A locked door policy and buzzer system for visitor entry is enforced at all schools.
  • Security plans are reviewed by staff annually.
  • Emergency preparedness training and simulated table-top exercises take place annually including active shooter and other crisis scenarios.
  • Additional security for events is procured when it is determined that students are at a heightened risk.
  • Health curriculum provides opportunities for students to learn digital citizenship and responsible use of social media.
  • Mental health and Student Assistance Counselors who provide mental and emotional support to students exhibiting behavioral issues, signs of depression, acting out, or are experiencing a crisis are at each of our schools.
  • Positive behavior interventions, bullying prevention programs, and school and district supports for all students in need are implemented at all schools to create a safe and caring environment.

These and other measures are being monitored and evaluated for additional layers of security as the district continually updates safety procedures, training, and equipment. Most recently, I met with the Police Department and all principals, and continue to do so, to discuss current practices and the implementation of ongoing strategy sessions and trainings.

In closing, I am grateful for your astute suggestions and comments you sent in, and you can be assured that they are included in all discussions. The safety and security of our students is a serious matter. Nothing is insignificant when it comes to our students, so please, if you “see something, say something.” Together, we can continue to make Montclair Public Schools a safe and nurturing environment for your children.

Please let me know if you have further questions or concerns.

Barbara Pinsak
Interim Superintendent

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