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NYS schools practice lockdown drills for active shooters

May 15, 2018 11:25 PM

If the unthinkable were to happen at your child's school, do you know the district's plan to handle it?  

News10NBC looked at what local schools do to make sure each and every student is safe.

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It's information that you might not have thought about 10-15 years ago. But today, it's a reality that has to be planned for.  Every single person who works in your child's building now trains for an active shooter emergency, but many districts are also using technology to try and reinforce safety.

Like many parents, Judy Cowan has that "what if" feeling in the pit of her stomach when she sends her daughter Catelyn off to school every day.  

"I'm just really concerned about the children's safety and what's going to happen," Cowan said. "Things have just changed so much in the world. It's crazy."

The number the young, innocent lives that have been taken by school shooters have many wondering whether local school districts are prepared.    

"Right now, there's someone planning, preparing to attack our schools," said Don Shomette a national school security expert. "Probability is low. Risk level is high. I think part of what makes it tough for schools, is they will invest their time and effort in this. But if there is no violence, they'll go months and months and months. No violence and then people become relaxed."

In New York, all schools in our area do at least four evacuation and eight lockdown drills a year. They all post basic security plans on their website. But you won't find specific details, because districts don't want a possible shooter to know that.  

In Hilton, school leaders are taking school safety beyond the state regulations. It's the first district in our area using the Navigate app.  The app has pictures of each and every room in every school that first responders can access during an emergency.  It's also able to be connected to live security cameras. All administrators and teachers have it downloaded. 

"All their class rosters are built into this program and they're able to, depending on what class they're in, open that up and check off their roster with students," said David Inzana, Head of Security at Hilton Central Schools. "That sends notifications to the administration and security."

If a student is pulled from the hallway into a classroom for safety, there will be a real-time look at who is accounted for.

Even in districts without this type of technology, school safety is a full-time job and not just for the director of security.  
"We have 17 buildings, 11,000 kids, so we need a community effort," said Steve Chatterton, Director of Security at Greece Central Schools.

Parents, in particular, have to make the effort too, with updated contact information.     

"A lot of times we'll go into the system and we'll call five phone numbers and none of them are active," Chatterton said. 

"I would think in a small area like this in particular, we anticipate and have our plans for if there were an active shooter event, cell service would not be usable," said Matthew Cole, Livonia Central Schools Superintendent.

Making sure you have your email address updated is crucial.

News10NBC also learned that a number of schools in our area are installing security film on all the exterior windows of their buildings.

Basically, the film makes it much more difficult for someone to break or shatter the glass either with a bat or a gun.  

All of the districts who News10NBC spoke with said that parents with concerns or questions about safety should call the building principal who can elaborate on all the plans. 


 

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