Schalmont reviews safety issues
ROTTERDAM New Schalmont Central School District Superintendent Carol Pallas is reviewing safety procedures in response to the Sandy Hook massacre.
Pallas said Monday that the district’s Safety Committee was due to meet later in January but she moved it up, given recent events. Schools across the country have been re-evaluating their safety needs after gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at the Connecticut school before turning the gun on himself.
“Everyone is kind of reeling from that. It gives us pause to take a look,” she said. Pallas said the committee was looking to see if any procedures needed to be changed or tweaked.
The exterior doors at all Schalmont schools are kept locked during the school day.
There are monitors stationed at each entry point, according to Pallas.
Starting this past fall, guests have had to present their driver’s license or other ID. This is scanned into the computer, which checks the New York State Sex Offender Registry and prints out a visitor’s pass.
The district has a school security officer at the high school but he works with staff in all the school buildings.
Pallas said school officials have also considered new ideas, including conducting more lockdown drills, which are similar to the more frequent fire drills. State law requires 12 fire drills per year.
“We don’t seem to do as many lockdown drills,” she said. More may be needed, Pallas said, so people would have the routine down of what to do in that situation.
In addition, Schalmont is planning a community safety forum for February.
Studying safety issues is among the new tasks for Pallas, who started Jan. 1. She has been meeting with school officials and students and touring buildings. She also met with former Superintendent Valerie Kelsey.
Pallas came to the district after serving as chief academic officer for the Greece Central School District, a 14,000-student district near Rochester. She also was an elementary principal for Greece and before that held a principal job in Mexico, Oswego County, and teaching job in Rome, Oneida County.