At approximately 9:30 pm last night, I received notification from several parents and students about a potential threat. I immediately notified the police who began an investigation. No arrests were made, and the officer considered it safe to open school today. We delayed school by one hour this morning so we had time to debrief staff and answer their questions in person. In an abundance of caution, we initiated heightened safety protocols including a day-long lock-down and hold-in-place. This means all building and classroom doors remained locked all day, gym and recess took place inside, special events were postponed, and extra support staff monitored school hallways. Both arrival and dismissal procedures were adjusted, and everyone, from parents picking up their students to staff, did a great job.
On Monday we will again debrief staff, review what we learned from today, and continue to work on this. We will always take safety concerns seriously and practice appropriate vigilance.Threat assessment and safety protocols improve each time we learn more.
Another important part of school support is mental health. As Mrs. Scrivener said this morning to all staff, “We are all here for each other.” Students (and staff if needed) are invited to meet with Mrs. Scrivener and Ms. Anken, our trained school counselors, and we appreciate the helpful resources they've shared already. Other support services available here include a school psychologist and other district level specialists. Plans for upcoming “mental health first aid” training, especially for high school students and staff, are underway as well.
As always, I appreciate area law enforcement. They are essential partners in our mutual commitment to creating a safe and respectful school environment. Special thanks go out to Deputy Smith, our Safety Resource Officer, for his quick communication with Lt. Gould of the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office.
If you become aware of a possible safety concern going forward, please contact me ([email protected]
). In situations where you don’t believe there is imminent risk, a student can talk to any staff member about their concerns. If danger is imminent, please call 911. We are also working on a hotline that will be available for use beginning this summer.
At Otselic Valley we remain united in our deep commitment to safety. Today we saw that in action, and I’m grateful. Vikings mean everything to our community, and we will all work together to keep our students safe, well, and learning.
If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.
Georgia Gonzalez, Superintendent of Schools