DCS Hosts Virtual School Safety Forum

Video Available for On-Demand Viewing on District’s YouTube Channel

DCS Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Niedermeier hosted a community-wide School Safety Forum Tuesday evening, detailing the district’s safety policies and procedures and sharing details about various safety upgrades that have been made in recent months. The forum was originally intended to be an in-person event, but due to icy road conditions, the decision was made to make the forum a virtual event. 

Nearly 25 school community members tuned in for the hour-long session, which was held via Google Meet. The forum was recorded and can be viewed on-demand on the district’s YouTube channel (@DCSEagles):  http://bit.ly/3QNyoNy 

Dr. Niedermeier’s presentation can be viewed/downloaded from the DCS website:  http://bit.ly/3DkyYgv 

“One of the things that prompted this [forum] was to tell people that we’re talking about this all the time,” Dr. Niedermeier said. “It’s not just something that we talk about after there has been an event. Certainly, we’re plugged into news as much as you are, and that definitely impacts our thinking, but these are concerns that we have all the time.”

Recent Safety Upgrades in the District Include:

  • Silent door alarms on every exterior door
  • Tap App deployed district-wide (in response to Alyssa’s Law)
  • Automatic shutdown buttons installed in buildings
  • Regular and ongoing PD and staff training on incident command, civilian response to active shooter events, violence prevention, mental health awareness, cybersecurity, bullying, sexual harassment, and more.

Transportation Safety Items Include:

  • Evacuation Drills
  • Physical Bus Checks before and after each bus run; in am & pm
  • Preventative Maintenance (50+ items checked every 30 days; brakes checked every 10-12K miles and replaced every 2-3 years, etc.)
  • Cameras on buses (some have dash cameras and stop sign cameras as well as traditional cameras)
  • GPS on every bus in the entire fleet (30 buses)
  • Radio system upgrade is coming soon
  • Planning with Homeland Security
  • DOT checks every 6 months

Dr. Niedermeier also introduced building principals and members of the district’s Mental Health and Wellness team – including school counselors, a psychologist, social workers and a Northern Rivers clinician embedded into the district – with each member explaining the role that they play in school safety.

The district’s School Resource Officer (SRO) Deputy Eric Reyell with the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department explained his role in the school community to include things like hallway/perimeter checks, assessment of classroom blueprints for lockdowns and potential active shooter incidents, student mentorship, and serving as a liaison for staff and students to connect students and families with resources. Deputy Reyell also spoke about the importance of threat assessment and early intervention, a process that takes into account each event that happens in a student’s life to better understand if a student may be on a path towards violence.  

Dr. Niedermeier revealed plans to expand the district’s SRO program, with the addition of another officer this school year. Because Delanson and Duanesburg do not have their own police force, the police department in closest proximity to DCS is the New York State Trooper barracks in Princetown, which is nearly ten miles away. “It is important to us that we have someone who can respond quickly in case of an emergency,” he said.

Community members – teachers, families, students, residents – are encouraged to send their questions or safety recommendations to Dr. Niedermeier, who said the district is “happy to incorporate them in the planning we do to make our schools safe.”