Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Safety Update

We seldom receive warnings or notices regarding school safety and when we do we take immediate action. Late last evening I received an e-mail (pasted below) that outlines a general threat to certain branches of elected officials and school buses in the state of New York. We have been advised to take necessary precautions during our "pre and post" bus trip time and for our drivers to be extra observant of any odd behavior while out on the road.

Our Transportation Department and our bus drivers take extreme care each and every day. Our buses have been checked for safety, and our drivers are constantly observant of their surroundings. I did want to pass this message along however because you may see this letter of description of a threat on the news, and I wanted you as parents and community members to know that we have things covered.

If you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to contact me.


Letter Received from New York State Education Department


On Friday, April 1, a threatening email was sent from an unknown email
account to members of the media and various state officials. The email
references threats of violence in state office buildings, against the
state legislature and a specific reference to school buses.

The New York State Police, the State Office of Counter Terrorism,
Federal Bureau of Investigation and other officials are devoting their
resources to this matter and are working with other law enforcement

We encourage all those involved in school transportation to remain
aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity as
indicated below. As a reminder, all drivers and technicians should
conduct pre trip and post trip inspections with the diligence they do
each day but with an added sense of caution and urgency.

We encourage all drivers and attendants to be watchful for unknown
individuals or any suspicious or unusual behavior along their routes or
at bus stops as well as individuals approaching the school bus. Drivers
should be particularly strict about unknown or unauthorized individuals
attempting to board the school bus. School Transportation supervisors
should be prepared to receive concerns from school bus drivers,
attendants and technicians and assume all observations to be valid until
proven otherwise.

School bus dispatchers should also be prepared and ready to receive
such concerns from school bus drivers and to transmit those concerns or
observations as appropriate to the school district.

If you or your transportation team witness or observe any behavior or
individuals of concern or suspicion, you should report same by calling
the state’s toll free hotline at 1-866-SAFENYS or 1-866-723 3697.

Ken Slentz, Associate Commissioner, Office of District Services
New York State Education Department

Charles A. Szuberla, Jr., Assistant Commissioner, Office of School
New York State Education Department