School Security

A update sent out to the Chapel Field family addressing security measures on campus.
 

Dear Chapel Field family,

I am so thankful for you and your children.  The staff and I here at Chapel Field count it a great privilege to educate and minister to your kids.  I want you to know that we do not take lightly the responsibility that comes with this privilege.  These are frightening times that we live in and we have witnessed horrific scenes in schools and churches around the country over the past couple of years.  These things break our hearts for the state of our nation and they cause us to cry out to God for mercy and protection.  I understand the obvious concern that you all have regarding the security of our school and I want to let you know that we are making every effort within our ability to improve our security.  I thought I would write and update you on our current situation.

As you will recall, this past January we had the Orange County Sheriffs out to the school to do a training session with our staff.  This was a sobering, but fruitful time.  Undersheriff Weed walked the property with Mr. Stein and myself and offered wise advice, revealing some of our vulnerabilities and confirming some of our strengths.  Since that time we have begun to make a series of improvements and set in motion some new procedures.  First, we have established a security team consisting of a few parents with military, police, and fire fighting background, along with myself, Mr. Stein, Glenn Piscatelli as a representative of our tech department, and Mr. Bailey, head of our buildings and grounds.  Together we are prioritizing our needs, strategizing ways to meet them, and establishing policies and procedures for the school.  I am grateful to them for their willingness to serve and work together for the well being of our student body and staff.  

Secondly, we have received a grant for school security and have been researching prices and getting quotes for certain upgrades around the facility.  Over the rest of this school year we will be adding and upgrading security features within the interior and exterior of the high school and elementary buildings, including the installation of electric locks on the front doors of both schools, replacing the foyer door in the high school and installing an electric lock requiring staff to buzz a person through,  adding secondary reinforcing locks to the classroom doors and reinforcing the classroom door glass throughout the school.  We will also be adding video surveillance around the campus.

I am also excited to let you know that we are currently in talks with the Orange County Sheriff’s office about the prospect of bringing on a full time deputy sheriff to guard our campus.  The Sheriff’s department offers to train, uniform, and arm a retired officer to guard local schools while the school pays the hourly wage.  The officers are deputized by the department and maintain the same proficiency and training as the active duty Sheriffs.  The officer would be at our disposal, to roam the campus from 7:30 am when busses arrive to 3:30 pm when they leave.  Surprisingly, no school in the county has taken them up on this offer other than BOCES.  I have recently met with the two undersheriffs responsible for the program and expressed our interest in participating. We are presently working on the language of the contract with the department and hope to have more details for you before too long.  The sheriffs assured us that we will be fully involved in the interview process so as to find an individual who is the right fit for our setting and who will be able to become a member of our Chapel Field family.  We understand that as fast as the local authorities would be in responding to any crisis that occurred on our campus, having an armed officer already present would be invaluable.  This along with the equipment upgrades that we are making will go a long way toward securing our campus.

Finally, please be advised that we will be administering a lock down drill this coming week.  Taking into consideration the advice of the Sheriff’s department, we will be meeting with the student body to instruct them, as a whole, on the necessary procedures in the classroom, in the areas outside the classroom, and those areas outside the school.  Attached is a copy of the document that the State Police recently gave us to review with our students.  It is of course a fine line between soberly drilling in order to be vigilant and unnecessarily instilling fear in our kid’s hearts.  As I am sure that you all already have, please continue to talk these things over with your kids so that they will be prepared to take the drills with the utmost seriousness while at the same time being reinforced with the utmost confidence in the sovereign providence of God for their ultimate security.  We will approach the drill with the desire and intention to balance these two ourselves.  

Please feel free at any time to reach out to me with questions regarding this or any other issue at school.  Again, it is a great joy and privilege to partner with you in the high calling of educating your children in the light of Jesus Christ.

 

In Christ,

Bill Spanjer
Superintendent of Schools