Watertown’s Board of Education holds public hearing for school safety during first October meeting | Education | #Education

WATERTOWN — In its first October meeting, the Watertown City School District’s Board of Education met in the H.T. Wiley Board of Education Room to discuss a multitude of topics, including school safety.

The district held a public hearing for its safety plan, dubbed Safety at WCSD 2020 and Beyond, presented by Patricia B. LaBarr, district superintendent. Public safety plan hearings are an annual occurrence within the district.

According to the district’s school safety plan, it’s designed to prevent or minimize the effects of serious violent incidents and emergencies and to facilitate the coordination with local and county resources in the event of such incidents or emergencies. This plan is consistent with the more detailed emergency response plans required at the school building level, which are not available for public consumption.

“Part of the district-wide safety plan is to make sure that we do have coordination with our local and community resources,” Mrs. LaBarr said. “When you think of the current situation we’re in with COVID-19, we have been in constant coordination with our local county resources and they’ve been great partners with us as we’ve gone through this together.”

The plan has been developed using the state’s education guidance document and reviewed and revised by members of the district-wide school safety team. Some changes have been made to the plan, with an addition pertaining to COVID-19 and the district’s determination to persevere in spite of the pandemic.

In part, it reads: “Despite the many COVID-related challenges faced by our school and community after the review and revision of this plan, WCSD will continue to encourage and foster the development of positive behaviors on the part of each student and provide a culturally responsive, respectful, safe, and orderly school setting. Responsible behavior by every person affiliated with our school community is essential to achieving this goal.”

The district’s school safety plan was developed pursuant to education commissioner’s regulation 155.17 and has been posted on the district’s site. Later on in the BOE meeting, after the safety plan received no public comments or questions from board members, the board unanimously approved the plan and adopted it for the 2020-21 school year.

The district’s next BOE meeting will be held Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. in the district office, as well as livestreamed for the public.

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