SARATOGA SPRINGS – Residents of the Saratoga Springs City School District will have the opportunity to listen to and provide feedback on a recent audit the district had done on school safety.
The district is holding a forum on Dec. 1 where the New York State Insurance Reciprocal, the district’s insurance carrier, and the district’s emergency response team will present the insurance reciprocal’s findings on where it could improve district safety.
“This will just be a followup presentation on our comprehensive approach to school safety and security,” said Superintendent Michael Patton.
Patton said the school’s emergency response team is made up of district administrators, administrator support staff and the district’s two school resource officers.
“The safety specialist from NYSIR, who helped conduct our district-wide safety audit, will also be there just to share some of their findings and some of their recommendations for the district as we look to continuously improve on our existing model,” Patton said.
One of the topics many residents expect to be discussed is school resource officers.
The number of SROs needed in the district has been a highly debated item in recent years.
At the board’s most recent meeting, some residents, like Mark Crockett, continued to voice support for more SROs.
“Unfortunately everyday it seems more important to have an on-location SRO for each of our school campuses, most recently in light of yesterday’s St. Louis school shooting,” he said.
On Oct. 24, Orlando Harris, 19, allegedly killed two people and wounded several others in the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis.
Crockett said SROs build relationships with students and help staff as well as being there should a shooting occur.
But others over the last several school board meetings have said that instead of hiring more officers the district should fund other areas, like counselors to deal with mental health needs.
Some parents and residents also have argued that the officers do not prevent mass shootings.
Patton said the district has not yet received the report, but that it will be made available to the public prior to the forum.
“It’s also an opportunity to get feedback from the community,” Patton said about the forum. “So, if they have questions of the panel they can ask questions toward the end. So, it’s more of an interactive opportunity to hear feedback on our comprehensive approach to school safety.”
Patton said the forum will be live-streamed.