On July 24, 2000, in response to the shootings at Columbine High School, Governor Pataki signed into law the most comprehensive legislative plan in the nation to promote a safer learning environment within New York State’s schools. It was entitled Project SAVE (Safe Schools Against Violence in Education).
The New Rochelle School District has been in violation of this law since at least 2009, and possibly far longer than that.
The SAVE law requires the administration to review and update its district wide safety plan every year. They have not done so since 2009. Worse, the 2009 plan contains numerous errors of personnel. For example, the plan says our New Rochelle Police contact is Lt. George Masseo. Mr. Masseo retired in 2007 and passed away in September 2008. Accordingly, plan was out of date before it was even approved. This is a clear violation of the SAVE law.
The SAVE law requires the School Board to approve updated district wide and building level safety plans every year. They have not done so since 2009. This is a clear violation of the SAVE law.
Over the past few weeks the Administration has distributed new building level safety plans to all the schools. These plans include incorrect and conflicting procedures for lockdown which is one of the most important facets of the plan. In addition, the plans have not been approved by the Board of Education. This is a clear violation of the SAVE law.
On January 3rd there was an intruder at the Jefferson school (the “Zorro” incident). The school notified the police but did not go into lockdown as is required by the 2009 district wide safety plan. This suggests the staff has not been sufficiently trained and it is shocking given that just a few weeks had passed since the Sandy Hook tragedy. This is a clear violation of the SAVE law and it put our teachers and children in danger.
The Administration and Board of Education have been breaking the SAVE law for several years. It is time to hold them accountable.
The next Board of Education meeting is on January 29th at the Ward School.
Adam D. Egelberg, CFA