DANSVILLE — After the community was shaken up by a recent unfounded rumor of danger at the school, it was made clear that more information was needed on school safety.
Dansville Central Superintendent Paul Alioto and School Resource Officer Deputy Bob Holt met with the community on May 24 to talk about the future of school safety.
Holt said they would focus on what is happening with security, what the safety goals are, and what the community can do to help.
Alioto said that the school is paying close attention to safety, and will tighten things up moving forward.
“We need to improve our security without turning the school into a prison,” Alioto said. “Kids need to feel comfortable when they are in school.”
A program is being put in place with Livingston County Superintendents and Livingston County Sheriff’s Department to improve these events. The program is in the beginning stages now, and it is called PREVENT.
“This program is about identifying threats, and dealing with potential threats,” Alioto said. “We want Livingston County Health Department, local police departments, and Livingston County Emergency Response to be on board.”
Holt mentioned it is important not to profile the students at the school.
“There are thousands of kids that have been picked on or are mentally ill, but they don’t commit mass murder,” he said. “We don’t want to profile a kid as a loner who could commit mass murder. You have to be careful not to profile kids.”
There have been several changes made at the school. For one, students can no longer wear trench coats, blankets, or capes. Staff and Faculty identification badges are not to be used by students to access any of the rooms or buildings. Students or adults are not allowed entry into the building unless they go through the main entry once school is in session.
“We have a lot of teachers who relate with the students, and they are seen as a trusted adult. If they find a need at home we can help with that need,” Holt said. “I sit on the team every week, and listen to what these kids need.”
There is more access to counseling, psychologist, and other support groups at this school than any other in the area.
“We have great support in place, and I feel really good about it,” Alioto said. “They work with the other counselors, so they get to know the kids really well. We get help from Noyes Mental Health and Livingston County Mental Health as well as the school psychologist. Whatever the family is more comfortable with.”
There are the necessary drills in place that help students understand the importance of a lockdown in the event of a school shooting.
Holt mentioned there is a scanner at the door that will take the drivers license of an individual wanting to enter the building, and that will alert them to if the person is a sex offender.
Alioto said more upgrades include a better surveillance system, missing students protocols, all of the doors kept locked at all times, annual staff training on emergency response, and will initiate a hug and go policy at the primary school.
Holt said that the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department does live active shooter training at the school when the students are gone. This way they can get used to all the sounds and effects of what would happen in an actual school shooting.
There is a new radio system coming to the bus garage with radio GPS, panic buttons, and a emergency system. This way if anything happened the school could get in contact with the right bus at the right time.
Holt said he is very excited to be working with Armoured One in Syracuse to help with what the school needs to be safe and secure moving ahead. They go through the school inch by inch and identify risks, and work closely with the school to let them know what it needs to change.