Fabius-Pompey Central School District
Timothy P. Ryan, Superintendent of Schools
1211 Mill Street
Fabius, NY 13063
Phone - 315-683-5301
Fax - 315-683-5827
School security has taken center stage in many communities. Although it is unfortunate that we must spend more time than ever before examining school security issues, the focus by law enforcement and school districts across the country has contributed to a solid knowledge base of practices school districts should consider.
School security can be divided into three overreaching categories: physical changes to the buildings and grounds designed to discourage potential intruders, reacting in an emergency and communication that helps reduce the chance that there is an emergency.
The physical changes to the buildings and grounds, as well as reaction during emergencies, are areas of expertise for law enforcement officers as well as for certain security firms. With that understanding, representatives from those groups have shared their expertise with the Board of Education, staff and administration. We will continue to work with these groups as we evolve the security practices at Fabius-Pompey.
The District views the communication piece as critically intertwined with the overall security. It is also the most complex. Communication between the community and the school, students and staff have historically provided information, which allowed the District to intervene on behalf of students. When a parent, community member or student raises a question about the state of mind of another person, albeit a child or an adult, the District conducts a risk assessment. Staff members and administrators conduct this process immediately, and if there is any chance of a legitimate concern, law enforcement is then called to participate in the risk assessment. Law enforcement is able to provide expert psychologists and investigators who have tremendous experience in this area. Their involvement allows the District to determine if there is a legitimate threat and to react accordingly. They are also able to identify a person who is not a threat but needs some help of a different type and to make sure they receive that help. They will also determine if there is not a threat and to unravel the reason for the misunderstanding.
From a communication standpoint, the District encourages community members and students to err on the side of caution and to report concerns. But in order to maintain the trust of the community, the District must react responsibly. That means to take concerns seriously and investigate, but at the same time to respect, the privacy of everyone involved. There can be a number of reasons that someone is viewed as a threat. From a simple misunderstanding, to a non-violent mental health issue, to a real concern. In the event that there is a real concern, the District will notify parents, students and the community. In the other situations, the District will work with the families and outside organizations to ensure, if needed, appropriate help is provided and will continue to work with the family until the situation is resolved.
Like many school districts in Central New York, Fabius-Pompey will continue to evolve our security practices. Fortunately, we are working with some of the leading experts in the field and have a proactive Board of Education to help guide the process.