OESJ District Safety Plan

PROJECT  SAVE (Safe Schools Against Violence in Education)

Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville School District

Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17

Updated July 2020


Emergencies and violent incidents in school districts are critical issues that must be addressed in an expeditious and effective manner. Districts are required to develop a district-wide school safety plan designed to prevent or minimize the effects of serious violent incidents and emergencies and to facilitate the coordination of the district with local and county resources in the event of such incidents or emergencies. The district-wide plan is responsive to the needs of all schools within the district and is consistent with the more detailed emergency response plans required at the school building level. Districts stand at risk from a wide variety of acts of violence, natural, and manmade disasters. To address these threats, the State of New York has enacted the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) law. Project Save is a comprehensive planning effort that addresses prevention, response, and recovery with respect to a variety of emergencies in each school district and its schools.

The Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville (OESJ) School District supports the SAVE Legislation and intends to facilitate the planning process. The Superintendent of Schools encourages and advocates on-going district-wide cooperation and support of Project SAVE.

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Section I: General Considerations and Planning Guidelines

A.  Purpose

The OESJ School District-wide School Safety Plan was developed pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17. At the direction of the OESJ School District Board of Education, the Superintendent of the OESJ School District appointed a District-wide School Safety Team and charged it with the development and maintenance of the District-wide School Safety Plan. The district wide plan was updated  as of  July 2020.

B.  Identification of School Teams

As per Commissioner’s Regulation, Section 155.17 (c)(13), the OESJ School District-Wide Safety Team is comprised of representatives of the teachers, administrators, school safety  personnel, other school personnel, and local law enforcement. The district’s Chief Emergency Officer is the school superintendent, Adam Heroth.

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C.  Concept of Operations

1.   The District-Wide School Safety Plan shall be directly linked to the individual Building-Level Emergency Response Plans for the school building. This District-Wide School Safety Plan will guide the development and implementation of Building Level Safety Plans.

2.   This Plan has been developed using the New York State Education Guidance Document.

3.   In the event of an emergency or violent incident, the initial response to all emergencies will be by the School Emergency  Response Team.

4.     Upon activation of the School Emergency Response Team, the Superintendent of Schools or his/her designee will be notified and, when appropriate, local emergency officials will also be notified.

5.   County and State resources through existing protocols may supplement emergency response actions, including post-incident responses.

D.  Plan Review

•  This plan has been reviewed  as of  July 2020.

•  The district-wide and building-level plan was adopted by the School Board in 2001 after a public hearing that provided for the  participation of school personnel, parents, students and any other interested parties. The plan must be formally adopted by the Board of Education. A public hearing was held on August 21, 2019 to approve the School Resource Officer as part of the safety plan.  A public hearing will be held on August 19, 2020 to approve the school district safety plan.

•      Full copies of the District-wide School Safety Plan and any amendments will be submitted to the New York State Education Department within 30 days of adoption.

•      This plan will be reviewed periodically during the year and will be maintained by the District-wide School Safety Team. The required annual review occurred in July 2020. Building-level Emergency Response Plans will be supplied to local police, the Sheriff’s department and the State Police within 30 days of the update.

•      While linked to the District-Wide School Safety Plan, Building-Level Safety Plans shall be confidential and shall not be subject to disclosure under Article 6 of the Public Officers Law or any other provision of law, in accordance with Education Law Section 2801-a.

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Section II: Risk Reduction/Prevention and Intervention Strategies

  • Prevention/Intervention Strategies

Program Initiatives

  • Character  Education Program
  • Assemblies to discuss pertinent issues
  • Agency consultation provided in schools
  • Dignity for All Students Act policy
  • Code of Conduct policy

1.       Information will be available to parents/guardians on how to identify potentially violent behaviors.

2.       If a teacher or administrator feels help for a student is warranted, it will be discussed with appropriate school personnel to  determine the next step.

3.       An interpersonal violence prevention education package will be taught as appropriate.

4.       The OESJ School District recognizes that communication is a vital key in the prevention and intervention of violence in schools; the District will continue to explore programs based on need.

5.       The District’s referral process is utilized for the reporting of potentially violent incidents and following the District’s Code of Conduct.

6.       Additionally, counselors are available in every school for students to share information where the source can be confidential.

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Training, Drills, and Exercises

Three levels of annual multi-hazard school training will be considered in this plan for the upcoming school year:

  • Required Drills to be held throughout the school year (8 evacuation, 4 lockdown drills);
  • general staff  awareness  training conducted  during a Superintendent’s Conference  Day by BOCES HSRM staff and:
  • general student awareness training of emergency response procedures conducted by building staff (i.e. fire drills, lockdown drills)

Each year the District-Wide School Safety Team and/or Building-Level Teams will consider appropriate training for each of the groups listed above.

  • Lockout and Lockdown drills are conducted throughout the school year, also, an evacuation drill is done at least once a year
  • A table-top exercise with response staff to discuss emergency procedures will be conducted once a year
  • After each drill we have a district wide meeting to discuss the drill and make changes if necessary

Implementation of School Security

Safety Response

School staff is trained to be vigilant pertaining to threats against students and staff (i.e. bullying). The district continues to promote a culture of respect for the students and staff through the Dignity for All Students Act.

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Security Devices

  • Surveillance cameras placed on buses, also various locations on campus, district is looking to add additional surveillance devices for additional coverage.
  • Photo ID cards are issued to staff and badges to visitors, plus a sign in and sign out log. Visitors  are required to  wear  a “Visitor” tag.
  • Swipe card system  used for  all staff.
  • All outside doors to remained locked, but will be accessible as an exit.
  • Buzzer system with camera at each main entrance.
  • Raptor visitor management system.

Vital  Educational  Agency Information

Each Building-Level Safety Plan will include the following information :

  • School population
  • Number of staff
  • Transportation needs
  • Business and home telephone numbers of key officials.

The Building-Level School Safety Teams will insure that this information is accurate and will be updated routinely.

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B.    Early Detection of Potentially Violent Behavior

1.    Paying attention to early warning signs can help prevent or minimize violence to self and others. Certain emotional and behavioral signs, when viewed in context, can signal a troubled student. Teachers are trained to recognize the signs that can be used to signal a student who may need help.  The more signs a student exhibits the more likely it is that he or she may need intervention. Early warning signs include, but not limited to:

  • Depressed  mood  or chronic crying
  • Decline in school performance
  • Verbal expressions about one’s own death
  • Giving away important personal possessions
  • Use of  alcohol or drugs
  • Sudden lifting of severe depression
  • Recent withdrawal from therapy or psychological counseling
  • Purchase of  knives, guns, or ropes
  • Verbal or written communications which appear to  be saying “good-bye”
  • Feelings  of guilt
  • Violent, aggressive behavior
  • Exaggerated  mood swings
  • Running away
  • Talking about revenge or getting even with parents
  • Confusion and despair resulting from sudden death or suicide of a peer
  • Any sudden obvious changes in  behavior
  • Eating disorders – changes in eating habits
  • Sleeping disorders – insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Low energy level, constant fatigue
  • Decreased productivity or effectiveness
  • Pessimism about the future or brooding about the past
  • Loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activity
  • Inability to show pleasure
  • Reactions that seem inappropriate to  the situation
  • Statements of inadequacy or low self-esteem
  • Social withdrawal – pulls away from friends
  • Irritability or excessive anger (which may be directed towards parents, caretakers, or siblings), rebelliousness, and belligerence
  • Neglect of  personal appearance
  • Physical complaints
  • Preoccupation with illness, death, or catastrophic events
  • Decreased attention, concentration, or ability to think clearly

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2.    If a teacher or administrator feels help for a student is warranted, it will be discussed with appropriate school personnel to  determine the next step.

3.    The Superintendent of Schools will set specific times for the building principal(s), in conjunction with the District Professional Development Committee, to organize activities of particular concern as needed.

Hazard Identification

The District has established procedures in the Building-Level Safety Plans for the identification of potential sites and the internal and/or external hazards that may be present in them. These procedures are developed in coordination with the local Emergency Management Office, Fire Department, and law enforcement agencies, and the use of a Risk Probability Checklist.

Location of Potential Sites

Internal or External Hazard

  • State Hwy 5 and 29 – External
  • School Heating System – Internal
  • School Bus – External
  • Athletic Fields – External
  • Field Trips – External
  • NYS Thruway – External
  • Railroad – External

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Hazard Assessment (some external hazards are county-wide)

Type /    Predictability   /  Approx. Frequency   /  Warning Time    Seriousness  /   Possible Responses

  • Intruder 1/5 /1 /2/4,5
  • Bomb Threat  1/5/1/5/1,3
  • Hazmat  1/2/1/4/1,3
  • High Winds  3/2/2/5/1,3
  • Bus Accident   1/5/1/3/2
  • Winter Storm  5/1/4/5/1,3

Predictability:   1) unpredictable  through 5) very predictable

Frequency:  1) more than once/year; 2) annually; 3) every 2-3 years; 4) every 5-10 years; 5) rarely

Warning Time:  1) none; 2) minutes; 3) hours; 4) days; 5) exact likely dates known

Seriousness:  1) disaster (entire community w/casualties); 2) disaster (entire school w/casualties); 3) emergency (affects one or more individuals w/casualties); 4) emergency (entire community no casualties); 5) emergency (entire school no casualties)

Possible Responses: 1) Shelter-in-Place; 2) Hold-in-Place; 3) Evacuation; 4) Lockout; 5) Lockdown

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Section Ill: Response

A.     Notification and Activation

Policies and procedures for contacting appropriate law enforcement officials in the event of a violent incident.

  • The person in charge (Incident Commander) will decide if the level of the incident classifies it as a “violent incident” (consistent with the definition of such an incident as defined in the district’s Code of Conduct). If appropriate, the Incident Commander will call 911.
  • In a crisis situation involving a violent incident, school staff should call 911 and notify the Incident Commander.

Procedures to contact parents, guardians or persons in parental relation to the students in the event of a violent incident or an early dismissal

  • Parents/Guardians will be contacted via telephone, school website and/or the all call system-automatically by the school district. In some cases, the public/parents may also be notified via media outlets.

B.    Situational Responses

Response Protocols

The district uses emergency information folders in each room for important directional information when a response action is needed. The Building-Level Safety Plans include identification of specific procedures for each action depending upon the emergency.

We have incorporated response protocols defined by state education department. It establishes definitions of lockout, lockdown, sheltering, hold-in-place and evacuation. Our responses are based upon these guidelines and are included in the Building Level School Safety Plan.

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Responses to Acts of Violence: Implied or Direct Threats/ Acts of Violence

The District has enacted policies and procedures dealing with violence . These policies and procedures deal with the safety of the school community, as well as the range of disciplinary action to be used when responding to threats or acts of violence.

Bomb Threats

Procedures and Guidelines are included in the Building-Level School Safety Plans for the OESJ School District. We use the NYS Police guidelines to bomb threats as protocol.

Hostage Taking

Procedures and Guidelines are included in the Building-Level School Safety Plans for the OESJ School District.


Procedures and Guidelines are included in the Building-Level School Safety Plans for the OESJ School District.


Procedures and Guidelines are included in the Building-Level School Safety Plans for the OESJ School District.


Procedures and Guidelines are included in the Building-Level School Safety Plans for the OESJ School District.

Arrangements for Obtaining Emergency Assistance from Local Government

Policies and procedures for contacting appropriate law enforcement officials in the event of a violent incident are included in the Building Level Response Plan for OESJ School District.

  • The person in charge (Incident Commander) will decide if the level of the incident classifies it as a “violent incident” (consistent with the definition of such an incident as defined in the district’s Code of Conduct) . If appropriate, the Incident Commander will call 911.
  • In a crisis situation involving a violent incident, school staff should call 911 and notify the Incident Commander.

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Arrangements for Obtaining Advice and Assistance from Local Government Officials

Procedures for obtaining advice and assistance from local government officials including the county or city officials responsible for implementation of Article 2-B of the  Executive Law.

  • The person in charge (Incident Commander) will decide if the level of the incident warrants obtaining emergency assistance. If appropriate, the Incident Commander will call 911
  • In a crisis situation, school staff should call 911 and notify the Incident Commander

District Resources Available for Use in an Emergency

  • Building Resources – kitchen and serving areas
  • Transportation Resources – School  buses, school vans, and maintenance vehicles
  • Personnel Resources – Staff with CPR/FA training, bus drivers
  • Other Resources – AEDs, Portable Fire Extinguishers

Agencies authorized to Request Use of Resources:


  • County Emergencv Management Office
  • NYS Police
  • St. Johnsville Police Dept.
  • St. Johnsville Fire Dept.
  • Oppenheim Vol. Fire Dept.
  • Fulton County Sheriff’s Office
  • American Red Cross
  • Montgomery  County Sheriffs Office
  • Village/Town Government

Protective Action Options

School Cancellation

Superintendent of Schools or designee will announce the closing of school. Communication will be sent to all officials needed to proceed with the cancellation.

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Early Dismissal

1)    Preliminary Procedures

a)  An annual request is made of parents of K-12 students to notify the school district where their child should go in the event that they are not home during school hours. Drivers will be alerted and substitutes contacted by the Transportation Office as to the possibility of an early or emergency dismissal.

2)    Dismissal of Bus Students :

a)  The main office will notify the Transportation Office of the decision to take pupils home

b)  The Transportation Office will notify drivers and required substitutes

c)  Bus pupils will remain in classroom or other designated areas until buses are spotted

d)  Personnel will assume regular duties for bus dismissal.

e)  The Transportation Office will remain at his station until all buses have completed their runs and returned. The Transportation Office will notify the main office when all runs have been completed.

3)    All students are transported by bus or picked up by parent/guardian for an early dismissal.

Evacuation (before, during and after school hours)

Procedures and guidelines are included in the building-level school safety plans for an evacuation.

Sheltering Sites (internal and external)

Procedures and guidelines are included in the building-level school safety plans for the OESJ School District for  sheltering sites.

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Section IV: Recovery

District Support for Building

All the district’s manpower and resources will be available if it should endure an emergency . Mental health counseling, building security and restoration will be items of primary focus. Response and recovery will be a district goal.

Besides building security and restoration, the strategies will also include damage assessment, relocation and continuation of the educational process. A post-incident response critique, the notes from the incident command team and lessons learned will be assessed. Plans to mitigate the likelihood of occurrence or impact, if the incident does occur again, will be reviewed. If possible, efforts will be made to improve district facilities resulting in them being more resistant to suffering similar or worse damage.

Disaster Mental Health Services

The district understands how an emergency can have a major effect on the well-being of students, staff and community at large. The district will coordinate resources with County Mental Health Services and the Post-Incident Crisis Response Team.

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Appendix 1Listing of all school buildings covered by the district-wide  school safety plan


OESJ Jr./Sr. High School
44 Center St.
St. Johnsville, NY 13452

OESJ Elementary School
6486 State Hwy 29
St. Johnsville, NY 13452

DH Robbins School
61  Monroe St.
St. Johnsville, NY 13452

Appendix 2: Policies and procedures for working with the Media Information

  • Media interaction may be handled by: Superintendent or Designee
  • A law  enforcement/  emergency response agency  PIO; or
  • Jointly, by both PIO’s listed above

Public Information Officer Information

  • Incident Commander and PIO functions may be handled by two different persons.
  • The School District PIO may work under, over or in cooperation with law enforcement and emergency response agency PIO’s.
  • The PIO should set forth clear media guidelines and communicate these guidelines to the  media in writing
  • The PIO should use a press release template for both a news conference script and/or a written  press release.
  • The PIO should receive information and forms from the Incident Commander and other key function personnel on a regular basis throughout the emergency event

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Student/Parent/Guardian  Information

  • Students, Parents and Guardians should be mindful of the situation during an emergency event when approached by the media for an interview. Safety and security issues may be comprised
  • Students should not communicate with the media via cell phone or other type of communication when on campus during any type of emergency situation.

Appendix 3: Student Release in an Emergency

Students will be released only to parents and persons identified on the School District Emergency Card, you may be asked to  provide proof of identification upon arrival in order for the school to release the student(s). During an extreme emergency, students will be released at designated reunion location(s). Parents should be patient and understanding with the student release process.

Appendix 4: Emergency Contact information form

Located within each Main Office.

Appendix 5:

Policies and procedures for responding to implied, or direct threats of violence or acts of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel, and visitors to the school:

  • Corporal Punishment
  • Alcohol and Other Substances
  • Child Abuse and Maltreatment
  • Drug Free Workplace
  • Firearms in School
  • Policy for Maintenance of Public Order on School Property
  • Code of Conduct
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Student Management Policy
  • Title IX/504/Civil Rights

Appendix 6: MOA with Village of St. Johnsville for School Resource Officers

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