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September 26, 2016

The primary mission of our public schools is to educate children. We know, however, that this mission can only be fulfilled if students and staff are in a safe environment. Recent events throughout our country and certainly Friday's incident at Absegami High School prompt questions and concerns about what our district is doing to address school safety and security.

Our approach to safety is multi-faceted and includes:

  • developing a positive school climate (e.g. classroom counseling and social skills lessons, Bully-Busting program and lessons, recognition programs)

  • improving the security of the facilities (e.g. locked classroom doors, entrance hardening)

  • using technology to support communication and monitoring (e.g. exterior and hallway cameras, addition of Crisis Go app in progress, use of social media )

  • participating in training with security / law enforcement experts and reviewing / revising procedures (e.g. participation in ALICE - Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate, bomb threat assessment, membership on the regional safety team

  • conducting drills with students and staff (e.g. active shooter revised based on training)

  • Our district is fortunate to have an excellent working relationship with the Galloway Township Police Department. In fact, Chief Higbee, Captain Doyle, our SROs, and other members of the GTPD work directly with us during planning, decision making, and practicing. Beginning in January, the revised DARE Program is being taught in grades five and seven. Again this year, the Officer Phil Program is being presented to students in grades Preschool through four. Overall, the GTPD has a greater presence in our schools this year.

    Parents/Guardians and students also play a role in school safety. Anything that is of concern needs to be reported immediately to the administration. If it is after school and you cannot reach your school administrator or us at the administration office, please email me and / or call the police department. Please remember that we can only address something if we know about it.

    For more information, please attend our Board of Education meeting on October 24th at 7:00 p.m. in the GTMS cafetorium. As part of the meeting, I will be providing a presentation to the Board and public. As with all Board meetings, there will be an opportunity for public comment. If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact me at or 609-748-1250, ext. 1016. As I have discussed with our administrative team, ensuring the safety of our students and staff is a matter which never ends. It is our responsibility on a daily basis and one that requires ongoing planning, training, and practicing. Thank you and take care.

    Annette C. Giaquinto, Ed.D.
    Superintendent of Schools
    Meeting the Standard of Excellence
    609.748.1250, ext.

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