Putting Section 155.17 (New York Project SAVE Law) in Context

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NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Apart from the long-dormant District-wide Safety Committee and the Building-level Safety Committee responsible for safety and evacuation plans, there is a similarly-named committee, primarily composed of F.U.S.E. members that addresses day-to-day school safety issues. This day-to-day Safety Committee also includes Mr. Quinn, Ellen Garcia and School Security Director Bruce Daniele. This “day-to-day” Safety Committee deals with issues such as the recent oil spill at Columbus School or problems with the playground at Davis School. This committee exists primarily to address short-term safety issues that are raised at the building level by parents or staff that are not addressed within a designated time frame of 30 days.

To go back to the claim made by Mr. Costiglio, while it may be the case that the district has just this year begun to update security measures and procedures, it is most certainly not the case that this has been a top priority at the district-level or building level. In fact, most of your safety and evacuations plans have been gathering dust on a shelf for years and there are still schools that do not have an updated plan nor is their an updated district-wide plan.

The district has not had a properly constituted District-wide Safety Committee or Building-level teams for years and what ad hoc committees exist have not met annually to review and update Emergency Response Plans.

The Project SAVE Law requires that parents and members of the community be included in the District-wide Safety Committee or Building-level teams. They were not.

The Project SAVE Law requires a public comment period of 30 days following any changes to Emergency Response Plans. That has not happened.

The Project SAVE Law requires public hearings. Those have not happened.

Police Commissioner Carroll says that at the time of the Newtown shootings he had on file a District-Wide Safety Plan and Building Level Plans delivered to him in 2001. He also had an updated plan for New Rochelle High School dated 2006. The Tuesday after he received an updated plan/template for the high school from May 2012. This was not created by a properly convened team and which was not made available for public input or a public hearing.

Section 155.17 School safety plans

(a) Development of school emergency management plans. Each board of education of a school district, other than a school district in a city having a population of more than one million inhabitants, and each board of cooperative educational services shall prepare by October 1, 1990, and shall update by October 1st of each succeeding school year, a school emergency management plan as prescribed in this section to insure the safety and health of children and staff and to insure integration and coordination with similar emergency planning at the municipal, county and State levels, which plan, and any amendments thereto, shall remain in effect until the adoption of a comprehensive multi-hazard, district-wide school safety plan and building-level school plans pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of this section, at which time it shall be superseded by such plans. A copy of the plan shall be available in each school district for inspection by the public and shall be made available to the commissioner upon request.
(b) Development of school safety plans. Every board of education of a school district, every board of cooperative educational services and county vocational education and extension board and the chancellor of the City School District of the City of New York shall adopt by July 1, 2001, and shall update by July 1st of each succeeding year, a district-wide school safety plan and building-level school safety plans regarding crisis intervention and emergency response and management, provided that in the City School District of the City of New York, such plans shall be adopted by the chancellor of the city school district. Such plans shall be developed by a district-wide school safety team and a building-level school safety team, as such terms are defined in subdivision (c) of this section, and shall be in a form developed by the commissioner in consultation with the Division of Criminal Justice Services, the superintendent of the State Police and any other appropriate State agencies. A school district having only one school building shall develop a single building-level school safety plan, which shall also fulfill all requirements for development of a district-wide plan to insure the safety and health of children and staff and to insure integration and coordination with similar emergency planning at the municipal, county and State levels. Each plan shall be reviewed by the appropriate school safety team on at least an annual basis, and updated as needed.
(c) Definitions. As used in this section:
(1) Educational agencies means public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools, public and private nursery schools, approved private schools for the education of students with disabilities as defined in section 200.1(d) of this Title, and public and private schools for the education of preschool children with disabilities.
(2) Superintendent means a superintendent of schools or a district superintendent of schools, as appropriate.
(3) Disaster means occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from any natural or manmade causes, such as fire, flood, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, high water, landslide, mudslide, windstorm, wave action, epidemic, air contamination, drought, explosion, water contamination, chemical accident, war or civil disturbance.
(4) Emergency means a situation, including but not limited to a disaster, that requires immediate action, occurs unpredictably, and poses a threat of injury or loss of life to students or school personnel or of severe damage to school property.
(5) Emergency services organization means a public or private agency, organization or group other than a governmental agency, which provides police, fire, medical, ambulance, rescue, housing or other services for the relief of human suffering, injury or loss of life or property as a result of an emergency.
(6) School cancellation means a determination by school officials that a school or schools should not be in session for one or more school days due to an emergency.
(7) Early dismissal means returning students to their homes or other appropriate locations before the end of the school day.
(8) Evacuation means moving students for their protection from a school building to a predetermined location in response to an emergency.
(9) Sheltering means keeping students in school buildings and providing them with shelter when it is deemed safer for students to remain inside rather than to return home or be evacuated.
(10) Building-level school safety plan means a building-specific school emergency response plan that addresses crisis intervention, emergency response and management at the building level and has the contents prescribed in paragraph (e)(2) of this section.
(11) Building-level school safety team means a building-specific team appointed by the building principal, in accordance with regulations or guidelines prescribed by the board of education, the chancellor in the case of New York City, or other governing body. The building- level team shall include, but not be limited to, representatives of teacher, administrator, and parent organizations, school safety personnel, other school personnel, community members, local law enforcement officials, local ambulance or other emergency response agencies, and any other representatives the school board, chancellor or other governing body deems appropriate.
(12) District-wide school safety plan means a comprehensive, multi-hazard school safety plan that covers all school buildings of the school district, BOCES or county vocational education and extension board, that addresses crisis intervention, emergency response and management at the district level and has the contents prescribed in paragraph (e)(1) of this section.
(13) District-wide school safety team means a district-wide team appointed by the board of education, the chancellor in the case of New York City, or other governing board. The district- wide team shall include, but not be limited to, representatives of the school board, student, teacher, administrator, and parent organizations, school safety personnel and other school personnel.
(14) Emergency response team means a building-specific team designated by the building- level school safety team that includes appropriate school personnel, local law enforcement officials, and representatives from local, regional and/or State emergency response agencies and assists the school community in responding to a serious violent incident or emergency. In a school district in a city having a population of more than one million inhabitants, such emergency response team may be created on the district-level with building-level participation, and such district shall not be required to establish a unique team for each of its schools.
(15) Post-incident response team means a building-specific team designated by the building-level school safety team that includes appropriate school personnel, medical personnel, mental health counselors and others who can assist the school community in coping with the aftermath of a serious violent incident or emergency. In a school district in a city having a population of more than one million inhabitants, such post-incident response team may be created on the district-level with building-level participation, and such district shall not be required to establish a unique team for each of its schools.
(16) School safety plan means a district-wide school safety plan or a building-level school safety plan.
(17) Serious violent incident means an incident of violent criminal conduct that is, or appears to be, life threatening and warrants the evacuation of students and/or staff because of an imminent threat to their safety or health, including, but not limited to: riot, hostage-taking kidnapping and/or the use or threatened use of a firearm, explosive, bomb, incendiary device, chemical or biological weapon, knife or other dangerous instrument capable of causing death or serious injury.
(d) School emergency management plans. A school emergency management plan shall be designed to prevent or minimize the effects of emergencies and to coordinate the use of resources, and shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) the identification of sites of potential emergency;
(2) the identification of appropriate responses to emergencies;
(3) a description of the arrangements for obtaining assistance during emergencies from emergency services organizations and local governmental agencies;
(4) a description of procedures to coordinate the use of school district resources and manpower during emergencies, including identification of the officials authorized to make decisions and of the staff members assigned to provide assistance during emergencies;
(5) the identification of district resources which may be available for use during an emergency;
(6) in the case of a school district, a system for informing all educational agencies within such school district of an emergency;
(7) a description of plans for taking the following actions in response to an emergency where appropriate:
(i) school cancellation;
(ii) early dismissal;
(iii) evacuation;
(iv) sheltering; and
(8) in the case of a school district, certain information about each educational agency located in the school district, including information on school population, number of staff, transportation needs and the business and home telephone numbers of key officials of each such agency; and
(9) the procedures for obtaining advice and assistance from local government officials, including the county or city officials responsible for implementation of article 2-B of the Executive Law.
(e) School safety plans. District-wide school safety plans and building-level school safety plans shall be designed to prevent or minimize the effects of serious violent incidents and emergencies and to facilitate the coordination of schools and school districts with local and county resources in the event of such incidents or emergencies.
(1) District-wide school safety plans. A district-wide school safety plan shall be developed by the district-wide school safety team and shall include, but not be limited to:
(i) the identification of sites of potential emergency;
(ii) except in a school district in a city having a population of more than one million inhabitants, a description of plans for taking the following actions in response to an emergency where appropriate:
(a) school cancellation;
(b) early dismissal;
(c) evacuation;
(d) sheltering;
(iii) policies and procedures for responding to implied or direct threats of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school;
(iv) policies and procedures for responding to acts of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school, including consideration of zero-tolerance policies for school violence;
(v) appropriate prevention and intervention strategies, such as:
(a) collaborative arrangements with State and local law enforcement officials, designed to ensure that school safety officers and other security personnel are adequately trained, including being trained to de-escalate potentially violent situations, and are effectively and fairly recruited;
(b) nonviolent conflict resolution training programs;
(c) peer mediation programs and youth courts; and
(d) extended day and other school safety programs;
(vi) policies and procedures for contacting appropriate law enforcement officials in the event of a violent incident;
(vii) except in a school district in a city having a population of more than one million inhabitants, a description of the arrangements for obtaining assistance during emergencies from emergency services organizations and local governmental agencies;
(viii) except in a school district in a city having a population of more than one million inhabitants, the procedures for obtaining advice and assistance from local government officials, including the county or city officials responsible for implementation of article 2-B of the Executive Law;
(ix) except in a school district in a city having a population of more than one million inhabitants, the identification of district resources which may be available for use during an emergency;
(x) except in a school district in a city having a population of more than one million inhabitants, a description of procedures to coordinate the use of school district resources and manpower during emergencies, including identification of the officials authorized to make decisions and of the staff members assigned to provide assistance during emergencies;
(xi) policies and procedures for contacting parents, guardians or persons in parental relation to the students of the district in the event of a violent incident or an early dismissal;
(xii) policies and procedures relating to school building security, including, where appropriate, the use of school safety officers and/or security devices or procedures;
(xiii) policies and procedures for the dissemination of informative materials regarding the early detection of potentially violent behaviors, including but not limited to the identification of family, community and environmental factors to teachers, administrators, parents and other persons in parental relation to students of the school district or board, students and other persons deemed appropriate to receive such information;
(xiv) policies and procedures for annual multi-hazard school safety training for staff and students;
(xv) procedures for review and the conduct of drills and other exercises to test components of the emergency response plan, including the use of tabletop exercises, in coordination with local and county emergency responders and preparedness officials;
(xvi) the identification of appropriate responses to emergencies, including protocols for responding to bomb threats, hostage-takings, intrusions and kidnappings;
(xvii) strategies for improving communication among students and between students and staff and reporting of potentially violent incidents, such as the establishment of youth- run programs, peer mediation, conflict resolution, creating a forum or designating a mentor for students concerned with bullying or violence and establishing anonymous reporting mechanisms for school violence;
(xviii) a description of the duties of hall monitors and any other school safety personnel, the training required of all personnel acting in a school security capacity, and the hiring and screening process for all personnel acting in a school security capacity;
(xix) in the case of a school district, except in a school district in a city having more than one million inhabitants, a system for informing all educational agencies within such school district of a disaster; and
(xx) in the case of a school district, except in a school district in a city having more than one million inhabitants, certain information about each educational agency located in the school district, including information on school population, number of staff, transportation needs and the business and home telephone numbers of key officials of each such agency.
(2) School emergency response plan. A school emergency response plan shall be developed by the building-level school safety team and shall include the following elements:
(i) policies and procedures for the safe evacuation of students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school in the event of a serious violent incident or other emergency which may occur before, during or after school hours, which shall include evacuation routes and shelter sites and procedures for addressing medical needs, transportation and emergency notification to persons in parental relation to a student;
(ii) designation of an emergency response team, other appropriate incident response teams, and a post-incident response team;
(iii) procedures for assuring that crisis response, fire and law enforcement officials have access to floor plans, blueprints, schematics or other maps of the school interior, school grounds and road maps of the immediate surrounding area;
(iv) establishment of internal and external communication systems in emergencies;
(v) definition of the chain of command in a manner consistent with the National Interagency Incident Management System (NIMS)/Incident Command System (ICS);
(vi) coordination of the school safety plan with the statewide plan for disaster mental health services to assure that the school has access to Federal, State and local mental health resources in the event of a violent incident;
(vii) procedures for an annual review and the conduct of drills and other exercises to test components of the emergency response plan, including the use of tabletop exercises, in coordination with local and county emergency responders and preparedness officials; and
(viii) policies and procedures for securing and restricting access to the crime scene in order to preserve evidence in cases of violent crimes on school property.
(3) Each board of education, chancellor or other governing body shall make each district- wide and building-level school safety plan available for public comment at least 30 days prior to its adoption, provided that only a summary of each building-level emergency response plan shall be made available for public comment. Such district-wide and building-level plans may be adopted by the school board only after at least one public hearing that provides for the participation of school personnel, parents, students and any other interested parties. Each district shall file a copy of its district-wide comprehensive safety plan with the commissioner and all amendments to such plan shall be filed with the commissioner no later than 30 days after their adoption. A copy of each building-level safety plan and any amendments thereto, shall be filed with the appropriate local law enforcement agency and with the State Police within 30 days of its adoption. Building-level emergency response plans shall be confidential and shall not be subject to disclosure under article six of the Public Officers Law or any other provision of law.
(4) The commissioner may grant a waiver of the requirements of Education Law section 2801-a, this subdivision and subdivision (b) of this section to any school district or board of cooperative services or county vocational education and extension board for a period of up to two years from July 24, 2000 upon a finding by the commissioner that such district had adopted a comprehensive school safety plan on or before November 1, 2000 which is in substantial compliance with the requirements of Education Law section 2801-a.
(f) Use of school property. Each board of education and board of cooperative educational services shall cooperate with appropriate State, county and city agencies in developing agreements for the use of school-owned facilities and vehicles during a disaster. School districts and boards of cooperative educational services are required to relinquish to the appropriate State or county agencies the control and use of school transportation vehicles and facilities in accordance with county emergency preparedness plans or directives.
(g) Communication liaisons.
(1) Except in a school district in a city having a population of more than one million inhabitants, each district superintendent, during a local or State emergency, shall act as the chief communication liaison for all educational agencies within the supervisory district territorial limits.
(2) The superintendent of schools in the Cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers, during a local or State emergency, shall act as the chief communication liaison for all educational agencies located within the city district.
(h) Reporting. Each superintendent shall notify the commissioner as soon as possible whenever the emergency plan or building-level school safety plan is activated and results in the closing of a school building in the district, and shall provide such information as the commissioner may require. School districts within a supervisory district shall provide such notification through the district superintendent, who shall be responsible for notifying the commissioner. Such information need not be provided for routine snow emergency days.
(i) Instruction. Each public school superintendent and each chief school administrator of an educational agency other than a public school shall take action to provide written information, by October 1st of each school year, to all students and staff about emergency procedures.
(j) Drills. Each school district and board of cooperative educational services shall, at least once every school year, and where possible in cooperation with local county emergency preparedness plan officials, conduct one test of its emergency plan or its emergency response procedures under each of its building-level school safety plans, including sheltering or early dismissal, at a time not to occur more than 15 minutes earlier than the normal dismissal time.
(1) Parents or persons in parental relation shall be notified at least one week prior to the drill.
(2) Such drills shall test the usefulness of the communications and transportation system during emergencies.
(3) The provisions of section 175.5(a) of this Title regarding the length of school day for State aid purposes shall not apply to school days in which less than the minimum number of hours is conducted because of an early dismissal pursuant to this subdivision.
(k) Reports by educational agencies. Except in a school district in a city having a population of more than one million inhabitants, the chief executive officer of each educational agency located within a public school district shall provide to the superintendent of schools information about school population, number of staff, transportation needs and the business and home telephone numbers of key officials of such educational agencies.
(l) Nothing contained in subdivision (a) or (c) of this section shall prevent an educational agency from using, in part or in total, an emergency management plan previously developed in cooperation with a county or other municipality as the emergency management plan required in this section until the adoption of school safety plans as required by subdivision (b) of this section; provided, however, that all applicable requirements of this section shall be met.
(m) Commissioner of Education. The Commissioner of Education or his or her designee may order emergency response actions by individual school districts in the event that the local officials are unable or unwilling to take action deemed to be appropriate by State and/or county emergency personnel in accordance with county or State emergency preparedness plans or directives.

New York State Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE)

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Bob McCaffrey on Thu, 01/24/2013 - 17:53

I think having an outside consultant do a full review is a good idea as Bob and others have suggested. We have the people and departments that should already be doing exactly that at least once a year bare minimum. The outside consultant must not stop at the schools, follow the chain of command and determine the root of the problem. The problem starts at the top and works its way down to school level. Like our city government there is no accountability. With these short comings is also waste of taxpayer dollars on all levels. Before raising our taxes anymore a review of all positions and responsibilities must be done from the top down in both areas, The Board of Education and New Rochelle City Hall. I was once a safety coordinator for a large facility and several others. I for one would like to know what the chain of responsibility for safety is starting from the top down to the schools. Can someone put together an accurate chain of responsibility with names and titles? When I look, I find that we have a School Security Director Bruce Daniele and that is all I can find. One man is not the only person responsible for all our schools and the Board of Education offices at City Hall and I don’t mean just the committees that are basically inactive.

Holding these people accountable is the only way to get action rather than inaction!

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