Submitted by Canastota Village Administrator Jeremy Ryan

The Canastota Central School District and Canastota Village Board of Trustees offer their sincerest condolences to the people of Uvalde, Texas, after the horrific shootings at Robb Elementary School last week.

In response to the heartbreaking events of May 24, 2022, school district, village and police officials met to review safety and security policies in and around school buildings. Sgt. Sean Barton, officer-in-charge of the police department, explained that a school resource officer is assigned to the district during regular school hours. The SRO’s duties include spot-checking buildings, monitoring security cameras and providing a visual presence throughout the school day.

In addition, all other on-duty village officers are required to patrol school buildings and grounds during their regular shifts.

“The village of Canastota offers our sincere condolences to the victims and families of those who were lost in last week’s tragic events,” said Mayor Rosanne Warner. “The village will continue to work in conjunction with the Canastota School District to ensure the safety of our students by making sure we have well-trained officers in the schools to protect our students and faculty.”

Superintendent Shawn Bissetta articulated steps the district has taken to bolster safety for students and employees.

All faculty and staff took part in active shooter training at the start of the school year, which included small, interactive sessions, training tailored to job function and an assessment of the school’s security capabilities.

Bissetta also reiterated that the ongoing capital improvement project will add security features such as secure points of entry for each building and a color-coded emergency lighting system to warn those on campus of any potential emergency situations.

Bissetta said the district has focused time and effort on providing mental health services to those in the community who want or need it. This includes adding a social worker for the Junior-Senior High School and a guidance counselor for Roberts Street Elementary School within the past year. A school psychologist position, which had been cut several years earlier, was restored within the past few years, and resources are available via the Connected Community Schools program. These services are intended to identify individuals with mental health struggles and get them the help they need while maintaining respect for privacy and sensitivity.

“There are many factors that contribute to the overall safety and security of a school,” Bissetta said. “Canastota Central Schools is committed to aggressively addressing all of the factors that we have the ability to influence. This includes a continued focus on both training and drilling for a variety of emergency situations, hardening our facilities through our capital improvement project and focusing on the identification and treatment of individuals in need of mental health intervention.

“There is no one simple solution to this complex problem that confronts schools across the county. It will take a comprehensive plan that addresses all of these areas that will provide the best result. We are extremely appreciative of the ongoing support and assistance that the village of Canastota and the Canastota Police Department extends to our students and staff, and we will continue to work together to provide the safest environment possible for our entire school community.”

The Canastota Central School District, Canastota Police Department and village of Canastota are committed to the safety and security of all village residents, particularly our children and those who have dedicated their careers to education.

For more information, call the Canastota Central School District at 315.697.2025 or the Canastota Police Department at 315.697.8888.

By martha

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