Three Village Focuses on Safety and Security During Interactive Forum

Three Village Focuses on Safety and Security During Interactive Forum photo
The Three Village Central School District hosted an interactive forum for parents and residents this September to maintain an open line of communication about the proactive steps the district is taking to protect the safety and security of its students, staff and schools. 

Led by the district’s Coordinator of Safety and Security Jack Blaum, the event focused on the protocols and procedures implemented, as well as the training and social and emotional support provided districtwide. 

The presentation focused on how the district has hardened building infrastructure and tightened access to buildings through such mechanisms as security vestibules, a default lock-out posture, and single-key lockable doors, as well as the technologic systems in place. Those include an extensive surveillance system, hidden panic buttons and identification scanning databases. A key part of the presentation also focused on the preparation sessions that the district has held for staff, including incident command training based on the National Incident Management System, EMT training and participation in the “Stop the Bleed” program. 

Another concept Mr. Blaum promoted was the interagency partnerships the district has forged with organizations and establishments, including local fire departments and the Suffolk County Police Department, and the confidential planning meetings that occur regularly to prepare for large-scale events and emergency incidents. Speaking to the connection the topic has on district residents’ mental health and well-being, Mr. Blaum discussed the Targeted Violence Prevention program – a nationally recognized program developed by the Secret Service – that the district has introduced to empower key members of the school community to become the “eyes and ears” on the ground as part of the district’s intervention efforts. 

“No one program or strategy can be successful without the support and partnership of all stakeholders,” Mr. Blaum said. “Our district and community are an integral part in maintaining a safe and secure environment. Collectively, we are committed to continuing to assess our protocols and make adjustments when necessary to create a strong and robust system.” 

During the meeting, attendees also learned about some of the district’s future safety and security efforts. From the expansion of the district’s already advanced surveillance system using SMART Schools Bond monies to the installation of perimeter gate houses at Ward Melville High School and an automated classroom-door locking system, Mr. Blaum explained that the district continues to explore all options.  

Building upon Mr. Blaum’s message, several other guest presenters also shared their expertise. Colby Rowe, M.S., EMTP, CIC Trauma Center education and prehospital outreach coordinator at Stony Brook Medicine, along with Dr. James Vosswinkel, the Trauma Medical Director for the Stony Brook Trauma Center and Chief Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Critical Care, Department of Surgery at the Stony Brook University Hospital, spoke about the district’s partnership in the “Stop the Bleed” program. Keith Murphy, Suffolk County school resource officer, spoke about how the police department is working to strengthen its relationship with local schools and how officers will be conducting site visits throughout the year to become more familiar with building staff and students. Bethany Riddle, Ph.D., assistant director for training at Counseling and Psychological Services at Stony Brook University, also spoke about the importance of such programs as the Targeted Violence Prevention program. 

Debbi Rakowsky, licensed school social worker at R.C. Murphy Junior High School, reminded those in attendance that the district’s social workers maintain an open-door policy for those in need, as well as discussed the types of presentations the district has offered to students in recent years to help bridge conversations and support social and emotional well-being.