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Apr 19, 2018
Charlton Heights Elementary SchoolPashley Elementary SchoolStevens Elementary SchoolO'Rourke Middle SchoolBH-BL High School

Middle Schools NEWS

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January 10, 2018
Principal's letter to parents regarding recent rumors & explaining school's relationship with police departments

 

Dear Middle School Parents/Guardians,

I recently received a few inquiries from parents regarding police officers at our school and rumors they have heard about student behaviors. I understand these concerns and I appreciate parents bringing their concerns directly to my attention. I’d like to take this opportunity to explain the variety of reasons why a police or emergency vehicle may be at our school. I hope this will put a stop to the rumors circulating within our community and put your mind at ease.

  • New school safety laws encourage greater cooperation between police and schools. Last week we welcomed Officer Austin Brooks to our school as part of the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program we are participating in with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office. Officer Brooks, who is a BH-BL resident, has recently visited the middle school several times to take tours and introduce himself to students and teachers. We are excited to be a part of the SRO program and to work with Officer Brooks in a variety of capacities that support our safe school environment. He will undoubtedly become a familiar face within our school as he and a colleague host discussions (in social studies class) about school safety and security and why schools perform certain safety drills (lockdown, lockout, evacuation, fire, etc.). They plan to work with our health teachers to bring a law enforcement perspective into discussions, lessons, and projects. We look forward to working with SRO Brooks and are confident that he will become a valued resource for students and staff, an informed advisor to administrators, and a trusted counselor to all.
  • Additionally, the district’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Officer, Kevin Dunbar of the Glenville Police Department, has been known to stop by the middle school to visit with former students he worked with at our elementary schools. Office Dunbar is always welcome at the middle school and we encourage him to keep the lines of communication open with our students, many of whom have formed an affable, friendly rapport with him.
  • When we have a medical emergency or a student in social-emotional distress, he or she may need to be transported from school via ambulance. When this happens our local police departments are committed to their protocol to accompany the ambulance during transport. This additional support helps to solidify our relationships with local emergency agencies and keeps all necessary parties informed and up to date.
  • Our school district crosses multiple municipalities. There are times when officers from both the Glenville Police Department and the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office, as well as officials from social services and the courts, meet with me and other district employees at the middle school. These meetings involve a variety of issues ranging from school disciplinary issues to home and community concerns. It is vitally important that we work together with our partners in law enforcement and social services to help our students and their families.

 

These are the reasons why police may be at our school. Some times of the year police may visit more frequently than at other times. It seems the recent increased number of visits has led to a great deal of false information circulating about our students. For instance, we did not have police dogs at our school and we did not nor have we ever discovered opioids in our school. It is understandable that rumors can develop especially since we are a large school and routinely deal with a variety of social-emotional and disciplinary issues with students. At times our intervention procedures may be misinterpreted when all of the facts aren’t known. Further complicating these situations is that we are typically not at liberty to share details about private family matters.

Please be assured, however, that if I ever need to contact you about school-related issues pertaining to the safety of your children I will reach out immediately. When I feel that student incidents are becoming a pattern rather than the personal, unconnected occurrences they have been I will look to address them in a broader way. In the meantime we are being proactive: We have recently restructured our school to provide teams to foster a greater sense of belonging and protection for our students; we are always looking to infuse relevant topics into our curriculum and special assemblies; and we design Parent University evenings to connect parents with experts to help all of us address the complicated issues related to raising teenagers.

Most importantly, if you have any questions or concerns about something happening at the middle school please do not hesitate to contact me first. Student and staff safety is a priority for me and, therefore, I will do my best to always address concerns and answer questions. I have an open door policy and am always willing to talk with parents and students. I can be reached at 518-399-9141, ext. 84001 or cwolff@bhbl.org.

Thank you,

Colleen Wolff

O'Rourke Middle School Principal