District Safety, Communication & Equity

Community Forum Feedback

On March 1 and March 6, the district hosted two forums for community members to discuss safety, communications and equity in the Carmel Central School District. Thank you to all who attended the forums where we heard many compelling and thought-provoking statements, listened to your concerns and reflected on different perspectives. 

Included here is a summary of the feedback that was provided to the district, outlining strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement. The feedback that came from the forums is helping the district formulate some actionable steps to take in response to questions, suggestions and concerns.

Feedback Summary

Safety and Security

Doors are locked, buzzed in/sign in ID Check needed "Raptor" ID System
Communication Communication "parents need to know" More detail and follow up after incident
Police presence Problems seem like secrets Parent mediation if possible
Check in procedures in buildings No single point entry, Door security/supervision,  NO scanners/metal detectors and Showing ID is not consistent More updates in emergency situations
Locked doors - buzzed into building After-school security- After-School supervision is lacking (doors are open) Follow up after incidents
Safety notifications (emails) Only one SRO per campus and SROs are used for traffic Follow up after initial notification
Threats are looked into - local police investigating Bus supervision Share more details when possible
Security in vestibules Cell phone policy - privacy concerns - bathrooms More transparent/timely communication- there is a lack of trust
SROs/SPOs Lack of social media literacy/responsibility being taught Clear policies need to be communicated to families
Visible staff presence Communication/transparency Better monitoring of school mentions/threats on social media
Check-in Procedures Specifics of the investigation were not shared with families Zero tolerance for threats and consequences for bullying
Safety drills No consequences for criminal behavior from law enforcement Structures for supporting students in being "upstanders" not "bystanders"
Safety/security orientations Misinformation on social media Staff members need to be aware of who is allowed/not allowed in building
Law enforcement walk throughs Absence Robo calls aren't until evening Transparent plan for students who re-enter the school community after a suspension
Safety drills Bathroom safety, vandalism, vaping Translation services must be readily available
Show ID at entry Families were not notified immediately about the threat Protocols at each school for addressing student discipline needs to be communicated clearly to families
Security vestibule Families were given more information from the press than the district Implement restorative/mindful practices need to be implemented
SROs/SPOs nice presence and approachable Easy for HS students to leave campus  Better DASA training for staff
    Affinity groups for minority students/marginalized groups
    More effort to acknowledge black history month, Hispanic heritage month
    Outreach to historically black colleges  by college counseling
    Engage diverse stakeholders
    More effort to build family/community bonds and connect families to one another

Communication from District & Buildings

Push for more communication evident Too many emails, difficult to manage Make sharing information a priority
Improved use of digital formats They all start with the same opening - may help to identify type of communication Administration should have a full grasp of situation, i.e.: seen video, etc. and admit to the problem
Appreciate communication: calls, emails, texts; also good to know about absences (elementary is notified so much earlier) Many marked "urgent", hard to differentiate Make clear what constitutes a threat; i.e.: hate crime, use clear language not legalese
Weekly emails - Great info Delineate source of communication Discuss school climate/culture, i.e. Gather data and present so kids know where to go for help
Community forum - do them for specific incidents also Some emails taking longer/delayed only for some **Culture of communication***. Give information "developing situation'; make corrections as you go
Communication amount Bus depot communication is not consistent (different numbers from D.O.) and there are discipline issues on the buses Train staff in protocols on how/what can be communicated - share a script with everyone - main office and teachers so communication is consistent
Administrators have been helpful and have served as mentors for students. "Absence" calls coming in much later (night for a daytime absence) May be secondary 6-12 issue and is a safety concern Parent log in to see real-time attendance, especially CHS
  Can parents sign up for type of email/text/etc. they prefer? Can they set priority lists for formats preferred? Can officers help with communication
  District email re: Incidents are not providing enough detail; too vague; let parents know kids are safe and more about the infraction so they can address and communicate at home how school is addressing Educate students  yearly on dignity for all students,  antibias, antiracism, diversity & SEL.  Also educate students on the power of technology.
  TikTok videos include threats that are not concisely shared with parents and risk is minimized Safe culture - needs to be the norm. Culture of safety - training with staff
  When an incident, communication needs to be more clear, especially when critical - to greatest extent possible to decrease parent, staff and student  anxiety Educate our parents and families
  Follow up needed - what are the consequences as this may deter other students Students should have serious consequences
  Follow up communication, after investigation to let others know/clarify threat level needs to let community know kids are safe/school is safe Offer school classes to address the issues and provide age-appropriate conversations
  What is the procedure? What can be communicated & when? Families should know protocol, next steps and when they will hear follow up Need more opportunities for parents to volunteer; buses, bathrooms, etc.
  Communication is vague at all levels, especially with larger issues Systemic communication programs
  Check-ins during the day when there is a threat Provide more information about clubs and activities offered to students
  Follow up to know school is safe/threat is gone, etc.  Controlling narrative Enhance law enforcement in schools
  When police presence on campus, parents do not know, finding out on news rather than from district Student voice is important
  If an incident occurs at CHS, elementary parents and staff should also know as a community - we are all the community See something/Say something drop box or a  link that goes right to administrators
  Where is the initiative? Why aren't parents getting closure, i.e.: case is closed.  Other examples - NYC schools procedures Administer surveys
  After-school program incidents, not handled similarly/all one community Look to other area schools for good programming
  Communicate penalties for threats,  Suspensions,  and any other discipline issues "Closing the loop"; Admin goes right to the teacher or student
  Why did the school allow students to attend?  Why not shut down? Respect all people inside of the building; if not, this will lead to vicious cycle
  Need more staff diversity  We all need to be better
  Explain when additional measures are taken such as increased police presence,   lockdown or lockouts are implemented.   Implement Equity teams and mentorships
  Students of color do not feel safe & racism is common in the community.  Scared last name & culture will create target Students should  have a reliable adult in building to go to share concerns and issues
  Past experience in school district includes racial language  
  County agencies should be involved and there should be home searches for weapons  
  Leave racism at home.   Students who made the videos receiving counseling and supports to prevent further issues  
  People don't know where to go if they have questions  
  Students and staff should be having conversations about racism.  
  Do not have enough security in school  

Equity & Student Wellbeing

Promoting discussion Outline specific action steps - events Communication-vague/more specific incidents
Generally happy and safe students Parent Universities Following up on specific incidents
Staff student-centered Communicate scope of safety drills Welcoming new community members
Rehearsing scenarios Parent mediations Positive affirming environment/school
Drills/evacuations/lock-down, etc. ongoing learning Ensuring that issues are acknowledged/acted upon/communicated  Reinforce routines/procedures with students
Staff effort to make student experience equitable Microaggressions  must  be readdressed Communication RE: behavioral issues
DEI Teams Discomfort in addressing issues universal themes All situations handled correctly and communicated back to parents
Equity Training Training for staff to address racial issues/subgroups/individuals Increase parent involvement/volunteering at all levels
Community Feeling/Culture Diverse staff More supervision hallways/bathrooms
PTO Events All students must be affirmed Educate students on Tech ethics/social media
ID Protocols Consistent consequences for the same behaviors Student IDs to access building
Teacher Communication Principal Increase district-wide approach/consistent Student Tip Line
Rotating Table Groups/Partnerships Bus assistants would be supportive Single building entry
Bus Drivers Care Timeliness of buses Transparency on District school policies ex: Code of conduct consequence
Lunchroom Associates care Bus issues addressed Install Metal Detectors
Larry’s Brain Breaks Parents don't feel video investigation was thorough enough Grade-level student assemblies regarding recent events
Staff going above and beyond Bridging community parents talking to parents Antibias training/cultural competency - All Staff
Administrator outreach Not always as parents would like Implement Mindfulness, Sensitivity Training & Therapeutic response
Personable communication individual outreach Student fear Look at curriculum/resources for diversity: YWCA 21-Day, Jane Elliott - Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes
Remind/Dojo-apps/Technology Lack of trust Transparency with discipline
Issues dealt with quickly   Greater detail on investigations
Student supports in place   Greater communication of resources
Helped students through COVID with return to school   Treat all students with respect
    District communication/transparency
    Children/Teacher training on bias/mental health district-wide
    Director of DEI
    Clubs/activities for black students