Important Community Message: May 25, 2022


Important Community Message: May 25, 2022

May 25, 2022

Dear Warwick Valley Central School District Community,

I express sympathy and concern for our community as well as others across the country. The heinous act of violence at Robb Elementary School in Texas and the horrific killings in Buffalo less than two weeks ago are beyond comprehension. We anticipate that individuals in our school community will confront difficulties as a result of these circumstances. Our administrators, counselors, and clinicians are prepared to offer any needed assistance to students and their families. The events are difficult to fathom and heighten our collective sense of vulnerability. 

Every educational leader goes to sleep each night wondering, “Are we doing enough to protect students? Have we done enough to secure the safety of students, faculty, and staff when they enter our schools?” We speak daily with the Warwick Police Department, and our schools benefit from our partnership with Chief John Rader and the rest of the department. Today, he increased the number of police patrols at all of our schools. 

Families have the right to know that each individual student’s safety is the priority. The Warwick Valley Central School District has made the following safety and security enhancements in recent years:

  • School Resource Officers (SROs) – the district now has five full-time Warwick Police officers, as well as fourteen security guards, on staff to increase the security level in our schools. This staffing is more than double the number employed in 2018 by the district
  • Police School Visits – additional police officers perform several daily walk-throughs of all buildings
  • District Safety Plans – the district has developed a district-wide School Safety Plan and confidential Building-level Emergency Response Plans
  • Raptor Visitor Management System – visitor management technology performs a background check for every visitor each time they enter, prints a badge with visitor’s name, photo, date, time and destination, and can send alerts to administrators and law enforcement
  • School Greeters – greeters are located in each school building entrance during the school day to sign in guests, run “Raptor” security checks, and unlock interior doors
  • Security Doors – upgrades have been made at Park Avenue, the Middle School and the Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center (District Office) to include airlock double-door entryways and locked entrances with approved swipe card access
  • High School – the main entrance vestibule has been renovated to secure a single point of entry
  • Middle School – the main office has been relocated to provide the vestibule with an increased level of security
  • Lockdown & Emergency Drills – in addition to regularly scheduled fire drills, the district conducts four lockdown drills annually in each building. Emergency drills include school bus and tabletop crisis drills. The district coordinates with other area organizations: Orange County 911, Orange County Mutual Aid and local first responders
  • AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) – located within a four-minute range, in all buildings and on each school bus
  • Video Surveillance – the Warwick Police Department has wireless access to district video cameras both in police cars and at the WV Police Department
  • District-wide Communications Enhancements – the district has purchased 75 new digital radios used at district schools, as well as additional high-resolution cameras
  • Crisis Teams – district staff members trained in Crisis Management, with a team in each building, including psychologists, counselors, nurses, social workers, Guidance staff and members of the Orange County-level crisis intervention/stress management team, as needed
  • Professional Development – district faculty and staff continue to receive safety and security related training
  • Social Media – in collaboration with the Warwick Police Department, the district pays close attention to inappropriate student activity on social media
  • Safety Consultant – a safety consultant has completed a district School Security and Vulnerability Assessment
  • Active Shooter Drills – The Warwick Police Department has conducted “active shooter” drills during non-school hours for officers to become more familiar with our school buildings

It is challenging to know how to best speak with children about tragedies such as these recent shootings. There will likely be extensive media coverage in the coming days about this tragedy. We need to be mindful of how this coverage can affect the children in our schools. I found the following articles to provide some helpful suggestions:

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

How to talk to children about shootings: An age-by-age guide

Coping With Traumatic Events

Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting

I am optimistic that the school community we have created will enable us to support one another and persevere in the face of existing and future obstacles. We are lucky to have an abundance of mutual care and concern in Warwick. We appreciate your continuing support and confidence.

Please join me in sending positive thoughts to everyone in Uvalde, Texas.


Dr. David Leach
Superintendent of Schools 




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