The health and safety of our students and staff are the District’s top priority–even when schools are closed for summer recess.
SOCSD has been engaged in extensive, ongoing efforts to promote a positive, safe and inclusive school culture. This work includes:
- Ongoing Character Education programming, including the Sandy Hook Promise “Start With Hello” program, at all schools
- Ongoing Social Emotional Learning programming at all schools, including annual Help Card campaign, to help students develop self-awareness, self-regulation, self-advocacy and interpersonal skills
- Dedicated School Support Teams at each building:
- Elementary: School counselor and school psychologists at each building which include a Board Certified Behavior Analyst
- Secondary: School counselors, school psychologists, social worker and prevention counselor at each building
- Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports approach to school safety which is preventative in nature
- Ongoing staff professional development and student education on Dignity for All Students Act reporting
- Ongoing suicide and violence prevention training for staff members
- Utilization of the Anonymous Alerts reporting system as an additional way for students and families to report harassment, bullying, hazing and/or discrimination
Our administrative team works closely with local law enforcement and first responder partners, our security vendor, government agencies and other school districts to continually review, practice and strengthen our District’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities.
Recent and ongoing District safety and security projects include:
- Implementation of the following security staffing enhancements, effective September 1:
- The addition of one full-time School Resource Officer (for a total of two)
- Upgrade of two security guard and one security supervisor positions from unarmed to armed (concealed carry)
- Retention of 11.5 FTE unarmed security guards
- Information regarding decision-making on this topic is posted on the Security Staffing webpage.
- District and school emergency plans were revised in consultation with local law enforcement, including the Rockland County Tactical REACT team, and reflect staffing changes, floor plan changes resulting from capital work and dates for upcoming safety drills. View the 2023-24 District-Wide Safety Plan.
- All employees, coaches and substitutes are required to participate in annual training on the District’s emergency plan. Training compliance is reviewed regularly to ensure preparedness.
- Upgrades of the speaker, public address and lockdown systems at South Orangetown Middle School and Tappan Zee High School were completed this summer. Plans for system upgrades at the elementary schools are under review at the New York State Education Department; installation will align with the Capital Improvements Bond project construction next summer. Existing systems remain fully operational at each school until upgrades are completed.
- Participation in the Rockland County School Bus Safety program which equips school buses with cameras to support enforcement and deterrence aimed at drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses at no cost to school districts.
- Ongoing training and development of Building and Districtwide Threat Assessment Teams to evaluate and classify a potential violent threat and determine the appropriate response and intervention.
- The District is preparing for annual fire inspections this fall and each building will conduct a minimum of 15 safety drills this school year.
Important safety information, including the District’s emergency response procedures, is included in the Guide to the School Year: 2023-24, which was mailed to all South Orangetown residents last week. Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to review this information carefully and develop a family emergency plan and have an alternate childcare provider in place in the event of an unexpected early dismissal or emergency.
New to the District? Please note that SOCSD uses a visitor management system to screen individuals entering our schools. For detailed information, visit the Visiting SOCSD webpage.
For additional information regarding District procedures, view the Safety, Security and Compliance webpage.