Dear Hudson City School District community,
Several recent incidents in our schools, which have been circulated on social media and in the press, have deeply impacted the sense of security and comfort we rely on in the Hudson City
School District. Last night at our Board of Education meeting, many members from the community expressed their concerns. The feedback we received was an important part of the collaborative process with the community in working to ensure the Hudson City School District provides a nurturing environment and a positive educational experience for all students and
I want to assure you that we have taken immediate action to enhance safety in our schools, and we are committed to continue exploring and implementing additional initiatives to ensure that
our schools are safe, secure environments for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
The health, safety, and security of our schools are our top priorities. We treat every threat and incident, alleged or actual, seriously and we address each one thoroughly.
While we have strong safety measures in place, we need to do more. Our strategies for addressing the matter and improving the school climate include crisis preparedness, violence-
prevention measures, anti-bullying programs, and more.
On Monday, we will hold focus groups on school climate with students, parents, and community members in the Hudson High School library. At last night’s Board of Education meeting, the board approved the formation of a School Climate and Safety Advisory Committee, which will be comprised of up to 20 district stakeholders, including parents, students, board members, district employees and others, who will recommend strategies to improve the safety, climate, and learning environment in our schools.
Among the violence prevention measures we are taking: The district is finalizing details on a partnership with STOPit Solutions, a pioneer in safety and wellness solutions that creates healthier places to learn, work, and live. We are studying STOPit’s Anonymous Reporting System (ARS) and 911-Direct Panic Alert System. While we look forward to offering STOPit’s services, be aware that our district, on its website, already provides the capability to report incidents or concerns. Use the DASA Reporting Form at https://www.hudsoncsd.org/dasa-reporting-form.
Our goal is to prevent problems before they arise. We plan to implement instructional support teams for secondary students to identify academic, behavioral, and emotional support interventions that may be needed. To address issues when they do occur, we are revising our guidelines for investigating bullying incidents and threats to students including those made off
campus, after hours, and on digital media.
When a disciplinary matter arises in our district, it is handled according to the district Code of Conduct and Board of Education policies. These provide the baseline for due process and for
investigating and taking appropriate action. We address such matters with a progressive discipline model, considering each student’s disciplinary record and factoring in the principles of the New York State Dignity for All Students Act (DASA).
The district has hired several professionals to address safety and behavioral matters, including a restorative justice specialist, a career guidance counselor, and an experienced social worker.
We have posted two additional security monitors and continue to explore options for bolstering security further.
Professional development programs will train teachers in fostering a positive school climate and in cultural competency in instruction and discipline. We also will cultivate a more positive atmosphere with more assemblies and interactive activities showcasing our students’ many accomplishments. We plan to invite noted experts to the district to speak about conflict-resolution tactics and techniques. Programs will also teach personal responsibility, respect, and compassion.
In crisis preparedness, we are updating our response plan to incorporate the PREPaRE approach from the National Association of School Psychologists. Threat assessment teams will be formed and will meet monthly, as well as on an as-needed basis for items of immediate concern. Building-level teams regularly review crisis and emergency plans and all staff members participate in annual training and simulation drills, including intruder alerts and weather and fire emergencies. Teachers and other staff are trained to respond to students’ questions and support them following a crisis.
Finally, in technology, we have implemented several programs, including KnowBe4 Cyber Security Awareness Training for staff, internet filters Go Guardian and Umbrella, a visitor-management system from School Gate Guardian, and more. Technology plans in progress include the development of a cyber security incident response plan and upgrades to, and expansion of, our security camera system.
Our initiatives to address these matters will continue, and you will receive frequent communications from me with updates on the progress we are making. I invite you to share concerns and comments by emailing email@example.com. As parents and guardians, you are invaluable partners in providing schools that are safe, nurturing places for students to learn, explore and grow.
Dr. Lisamarie Spindler
Superintendent of Schools
Hudson City School District