Dear Cohoes Families and Caregivers:
There are no words to convey the sadness, anger and anxiety we may experience in the aftermath of yesterday’s violence at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. This incident, coupled with the senseless mass shooting in Buffalo and other recent events, is heartbreaking and unexplainable. There is no doubt this sort of news is difficult to hear and process for all of us, and in particular for children.
Our schools are staffed with skilled and caring professionals, including social workers, psychologists and counselors, who are available to speak with students who may be struggling with this news. If you feel your child needs to speak with a counselor, please contact your school’s main office, and we will connect you with someone to provide assistance. If you would like guidance on how to talk to your child about school violence, you may find these tips from the National Association of School Psychologists helpful.
I want to assure you that the safety of our students and staff is our number one priority and at the forefront of our decision-making. Each building has a safety team that meets regularly. Our District Wide Safety Team, made up of school and city representatives including the mayor, police chief and fire chief, also meets to refine our safety practices and review areas of improvement as part of our comprehensive District Safety Plan.
Some of the protocols in place to enhance security include:
- A single point of access for visitors to each building, with locked entryways and buzzer access.
- A parent/visitor sign-in procedure requiring the use of ID badges.
- Faculty/staff ID badges.
- Upgraded security cameras throughout the buildings.
- School Safety Officers at the High School and Middle School, with plans to increase safety personnel included in the 2022-23 budget.
- Staff is trained on building and classroom emergency procedures, and a number of safety drills are conducted each year with students.
We ask that you take a moment to remind your child of the importance of reporting and sharing information with a trusted adult about someone who may be exhibiting signs of dangerous behavior, to themselves or to others. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your child’s principal or my office.
Uvalde is a community roughly the size of Cohoes. They are small and tight-knit, just as we are. We cannot fathom what they are going through today or what they will deal with in the weeks and months ahead. Saying “our thoughts and prayers” are with them doesn’t quite seem like enough. Yet, it’s the only thing we can offer right now. We hold the Uvalde community deep in our hearts for their unimaginable loss, and we hope that time will ease their pain.
Superintendent of Schools