A Message from Superintendent Pero: New School Year Sees Safety Upgrades to Building Access Control
As Pittsford Schools prepared for the 2023-24 school year, significant safety upgrades were made to building access control systems throughout the District. These upgrades include new intruder locks as well as servers, control panels and software that enhance safety measures related to building access and monitoring systems.
While the card readers on external doors will look the same, the electronic function of those systems were upgraded to streamline the issuing of identification badges and maximize reliability. A new server that controls badge readers throughout the District has been installed, and updated control panels were connected in server closets at each building.
Additionally, new visitor management software was installed in every main office which automatically syncs with the District-wide emergency alert/communication system. With this new software, visitors can sign in using an iPad. As in the past, visitors entering a school building will need to bring a valid driver’s license to enter a building for any purpose.
To improve camera monitoring and recording capabilities, a new infrastructure and software system was installed that significantly increases capabilities to view cameras and to retrieve and save video as needed. The new software interface is one that is used extensively by school districts throughout Monroe County. To reduce the potential for camera failures, new servers were also installed over the summer.
Door replacements and intruder lock installations for areas of large assembly are also underway, and plans for building more secure entryway vestibules have been submitted to New York State for approval.
Students, families and staff members support these safety measures by being alert and using the “See Something, Say Something” protocol to report suspicious activity or potential threats to a school principal or trusted adult, calling 911 for imminent threats/immediate emergency response, or by calling the Safe School Helpline at (1-800) 418-6423 ext. 359 to report dangerous situations or access a live mental health counselor. The Safe School Helpline is anonymous.
A Message from Superintendent Pero: Prioritizing Safety and Security, April 2023
As our students return from their Spring break, we want to assure the Pittsford Schools community that our top priority is safety and security. With the approval of the 2023 capital improvement project referendum on March 28, we plan to take steps to fortify all nine school buildings by installing double-door vestibules at main entrances, increase and enhance security cameras, and install intruder locks in large assembly areas such as a cafeteria and auditorium.
Recently, some local school districts have received false reports of active school shooters, a disruptive tactic known as "swatting." To date, the IP addresses and other forms of tracing, indicate these reports originated from outside of our state and country. When law enforcement receives these reports, they may trigger a full response from the SWAT team; hence the term “swatting.” In response, PCSD is working closely with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) and has alerted its Incident Management Team in the event PCSD receives a similar threat.
The District regularly practices emergency evacuation plans for various situations, including extreme weather, chemical spills, medical emergencies, bomb threats, and active shooter scenarios. Students and staff practice response drills throughout the year, and each building practices evacuation to a safe location off school grounds. Incident Management Teams are in place at each school to plan for and practice emergency procedures. Similarly, District level response teams do the same. This past week, all building and District administrators underwent tabletop exercises with the MCSO to assess preparedness.
If the District receives a threat, we take it seriously and initiate the Incident Management Plan immediately with the MCSO. Parents and staff can expect timely communication from the District with updates and any necessary actions, including safe pick-up locations. During emergency situations, parents and guardians are asked not to call or show up at schools to allow for clear phone lines and site security.
We appreciate the community's patience as we navigate through this disruptive activity. To support school safety, parents, community members, and students are encouraged to report any concerning behavior to a school administrator, a trusted adult or through the Safe Schools Helpline, which provides 24/7 access to a secure reporting line.
Safety and Security Update: Emergency Alert Buttons, January 2020
Safety and security is a top priority for the Pittsford Central School District. School safety is often described in terms of layers. The more layers that are in place, the deeper the District’s protection and safety.
This year alone, the District has added more security cameras, transitioned to highly fortified Smart Card badge technology for staff entry to buildings, continued to bolster the “See Something, Say Something” campaign, and conducted relationship mapping at all nine of our schools to assess the extent to which our students can identify at least one trusted adult at school.
As another layer of protection, the District has installed Emergency Alert Buttons in every school’s main office. The high schools have an additional button in the principal’s office.
The goal of the Emergency Alert Buttons is to decrease the response time of first responders in the event of an emergency and to notify building occupants of an emergency in real-time.
When an Emergency Alert Button is pressed, the following will occur automatically and simultaneously:
- Call to 911 to alert emergency responders, which automatically allows the operator to hear what’s happening in the room
- PA announcement of a lockdown
- Visual alert to building computer screens and building/classroom telephones
- Email and text alerts sent to building Incident Management Team and District administrators
For more in-depth information about the emergency alert buttons and a message from Superintendent Pero, click here to view a short video https://youtu.be/OeZQd8YSWW4.
The District asks its students, families and colleagues to remember, if they see something, say something. This and many other protective factors and layers create a culture where everyone is a significant contributor to overall school safety.
Safety and Security Updates, Fall 2019
As District teachers and staff prepared classrooms and lesson plans in anticipation of the 2019-20 school year, continued upgrades and enhancements to security were in the works behind the scenes.
Some of those upgrades included the installation of 16 digital security cameras in and around buildings to supplement over 200 existing cameras. These devices are used to identify and deter issues both during and after school hours, inside and outside of school buildings.
“The school district has a comprehensive emergency response/preparedness plan that is reviewed and updated annually and/or when necessary, said Superintendent Pero. “In addition, safety and security improvements are constantly being reviewed and implemented,” he said.
An example of these updates include a recent transition to Smart Card technology for staff entry to buildings. New staff IDs will have enhanced chip technology for authentication and access to doors and resources. To manage guest access to buildings, a District-wide visitor management system requires visitors to present photo identification and be entered into the security system. Additional safety measures include intercom/door buzzer systems and/or secured vestibules with security desks as well as intruder hardware on classroom doors.
Other emergency management upgrades included the installation of approximately 900 new phones with enhanced security features, including an “office alert” button and a new warning system with the ability to send customized emergency messages to district phones, laptops, desktops, PA systems and 911 services. The district is also testing multiple products to assist in the security of large assembly areas.
Collaboration with local emergency support services ensures a comprehensive approach to PCSD’s emergency preparedness and response plan. The District works closely with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Town of Pittsford Fire Department, and Pittsford Ambulance to plan for emergency preparedness/response and to conduct large scale drills. Additionally, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has immediate and full access to all buildings along with photos of the schools and property on file for emergency response purposes.
PCSD’s on-site security staff consists of New York State licensed security guards who receive regular and consistent training and have completed training from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on incident command systems.
School Safety and Security
As a District, we have adopted a variety of safety and security policies and procedures, including a student code of conduct that is enforced fairly and consistently. All high school students are provided with a copy of the student code of conduct in the student handbook, which is also available on this website; all other students are provided a summary in student-friendly language. Our student body is our best means of prevention as they may be among the first to receive information about a possible threat to our schools. Please remember – see something, say something.
Parent-student-school communication is key to preventing school violence. Parents are the frontline in identifying troubling behaviors in their children. If you have concerns, don't hesitate to call your child's counselor so we can partner with you and your child to get the help they need to prevent potential escalation. Working together we can keep students safe and secure.
As a school district, we are routinely training, updating and adding new procedures to the PCSD safety and security plans. Below are some of the more recently added security measures and enhancements:
- Controlled access at all Pittsford School District buildings. Security additions include the installation of secure vestibules at all four secondary schools (double-door entrances), intercom systems throughout all nine schools, and controlled access through the main entry at the elementary schools.
- A computer-based visitor photo badge system with expiring badges has been implemented at all schools. All visitor entry is only permitted through the main entry doors until the end of the school day. All visitors are screened before they enter our schools.
- Monroe County Sheriff's Office Deputies have full access to our schools and have increased their visibility/presence on school campuses. These visits enable deputies to better familiarize themselves with staff and students, as well as the layout of all nine of our schools.
- Increased security video equipment and personnel to monitor school property including over 200 cameras. Location and number of cameras are continuously reviewed with law enforcement.
- Continuous training of stakeholders about the importance of keeping exterior doors locked and promoting a single-point of entry. This includes entrance and exit audits.
- Employees are required to be fingerprinted as part of their employment background check.
- Safety protocols and training for substitute teachers has been enhanced and improved.
- Intruder locks were installed in classrooms throughout all nine school buildings.
Pittsford Central School District has a comprehensive emergency response plan. Emergency procedures are regularly practiced with the faculty, staff and students. Drills are practiced at our schools with the support of the Town and Village of Pittsford, and the fire department.
The District routinely trains with many experts in the field of school safety (Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security) and continuously makes improvements as new protocols develop. These emergency plans are provided to and reviewed with all local emergency service providers.
A Town representative participates on the District Health and Safety Committee to provide a communication connection with the Town's emergency services.
The Pittsford Central School District uses a mass notification system which provides parent and staff notification services through phone calls, voice messages, emails and text alerts. Blackboard Communications is used for communicating to parents and staff on issues impacting student safety in a timely and efficient manner.
The District also works with local radio and television stations to share out emergency information.
In addition to these safety precautions, PCSD also puts considerable emphasis on prevention. The Student Services Department provides support programs and services for students and staff throughout the District including counselors, psychologists, social workers and other specialized mental health professionals. The Department serves as the central point for social emotional supports and comprehensive mental health services, offers targeted services to students and promotes District health, wellness and safety. The Department also supports a variety of community partnerships and activities linked to safety and security.
For example, participants in the Sources of Strength program are a diverse group of students and adults from different cultures and groups within our schools who work to ensure that during difficult times, no one gets so overwhelmed that they turn to violence or suicide. Sources of Strength participants learn about warning signs and how to approach a trusted adult who can help and provide the intervention necessary for themselves or a struggling person.
While we have made significant strides in both preventing and preparing for emergencies, our work is ongoing. Social Emotional Learning continues to be a growing area of education for us because more children are exhibiting stress and anxiety. Working together we can keep students safe and secure. Currently, we are engaged in the review of our mental health services, systems and structures with the intent to enhance this critical area.
NYS Sex Offender Registry
NY-ALERT System for Sex Offender Notifications
Residents of New York can register to receive alerts when moderate- or high-risk sex offenders move into or out of their area. The NY-ALERT System will send alerts through email or as a text message, fax or telephone recording.
Subscribers can register for up to three areas for notification. Areas are defined by county, zip code or a specific address. If a specific address is selected, the subscriber designates a radius from a quarter-mile to 25 miles around that address.
Registration can be completed at http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/nsor/. Subscribers will receive sex offender relocation notices when a Level 2 (moderate risk) or Level 3 (high risk) sex offender listed on the public subdirectory moves into or out of a community of interest. By law, the state can only provide information about Level 1 (low-risk) offenders or those with a pending risk level through a toll-free number (1-800-262-3257).
This service is possible through a partnering of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) which manages the NY-ALERT system.
Report an Incident
Incident Reporting Form
This form should be used for reporting allegations of discrimination and harassment. As with any urgent or emergency event, it’s always best to call police authorities at 911.
Mendon HS Incident Reporting
Sutherland HS Incident Reporting
Calkins Road Incident Reporting
Barker Road Incident Reporting
Thornell Road Incident Reporting
Park Road Incident Reporting
Mendon Center Incident Reporting
Jefferson Road Incident Reporting
Allen Creek Incident Reporting
The 2016-17 enacted State budget included amendments to Education Law Sections 2801-a and 807 (Chapter 54 of the Laws of 2016) related to school emergency response planning. The changes to legislation summarized in the May 19 memorandum from Assistant Commissioner Renee Rider became effective on July 1, 2016.
Parents and students often question the process used in making determinations about school closings. Click School Closings for answers and information about the school closing process at Pittsford Schools.
Visiting your Child's School
Each school has a check-in procedure for visitors during the school day. Although we encourage parents to visit our campuses, please keep in mind that check-in procedures apply to all visitors as part of our access control measures. Visitors should use appropriate entrances (usually the main entry) and be prepared to state the nature of their visit, show photo identification and receive a visitor's badge. Our procedures are structured to ensure the safety of students and staff.
Please contact school personnel as quickly as possible if a situation arises that could endanger students or staff. All information is treated in an appropriately confidential manner.
Fire Inspection Notice
Notice is hereby given that the annual inspection for the 2021-2022 school year of all facilities in the Pittsford CSD for fire hazards which might endanger the lives of students, teachers, employees therein, has been completed in May 2022 and the report thereof is available at the Operations, Maintenance & Security Directors Office for inspection by all interested persons.