Report by Paula Antolini
February 23, 2018 8:27AM EDT
Bethel Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Carver Discussed School Safety and Security at Special Session of Parent University
At a Special Session held at 5:30pm at Bethel Middle School, Dr. Carver began by discussing “the aspects of safety and security in the Bethel Public Schools (BPS) and how we deal with it from two different perspectives,” namely, physical safety and emotional safety of the students. She said, “I think the two are interlinked when we talk about school safety and security particularly when we think about all the horrible tragedies that have happened, not only over the past couple of weeks but since I’ve been teaching for several years, and that’s a major concern of us.”
She also mentioned that the police department is involved in school concerns, members of whom were present at the session, including Captain Pugner. Carver said they are “an effective team because we communicate frequently, and we have systems in place and protocols in place to make things work.”
Carver said her discussion would include a broad overview of safety and security in the schools but cautioned the audience that she could not give a lot of specific details because they are “security issues.” She said she would talk in generalities just in case someone is watching the talk and “it might cause an event to occur” or “compromise our security plan.”
Carver stated, “Right after Sandy Hook there was a lot of evaluation of school safety and security, not only in the state of Connecticut, but nationally, and in that discussion there was a lot of legislation that was passed that really beefed up school security issues within the state and even at the national level, but certainly in Connecticut there was a lot of legislation that was passed to ramp up school security, and part of what they did is that they adopted a model, or an approach, on how schools actually rate security plans and it’s based on a FEMA model, an All Hazards Training.”
“The reason they wanted people to have a coordinated model of response…was that if you enter situations where there is a safety issue, there’s a common response and everybody has common training and everyone understands common protocols in ways to respond to situations,” Carver said.
The schools were tasked to develop a very comprehensive plan, she said. The plan includes each school having a Special Crisis Team who are trained to deal with different crisis situations. In this plan there are also protocols in place to deal with specific issues, “that we follow as a district and implement as a district in order to keep our children safe.” For example, during “an act of violence, a weather emergency, or a chemical hazard,” she said.
“It’s our highest priority to keep your children safe,” Carver said. “I frequently say, I look at your children like they’re my children, and I really do believe that, and so I find that my top responsibility is to make sure that we have every protection in order for that to happen.”
“It’s our highest priority to keep your children safe,” Carver said. “I frequently say, I look at your children like they’re my children, and I really do believe that.”
Carver said the team had to include not only district level personnel but school level personnel, police, Fire Marshall Tom Galliford, and parents. The team looks at the protocol that has been developed and evaluates whether or not it is working, she said.
They do assessments of each school annually, based on an assessment they receive from the Department of Homeland Security, to look at safety issues within our schools, and then plans are developed to address those safety issues, she said. “We do this every Spring and incorporate it into the budget process, so that we can usually make the changes over the summer for the following year, so over the following year hopefully we can enact it.”
“Some of the things you probably don’t see, but other things you do see.” She mentioned “We look at he vestibule (an area you walk into before you enter the big building), we look at cameras, line of sight.” There’s a lot of things that we talk about so that we can implement that.”
View more photos of the event below: