To the Pathway School Community:
It pains me to have to write another email like this, but after the events of the past few days (Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX) I feel compelled to write and describe the safety measures in place at our school.
One of the most important aspects of The Pathway School is to provide a safe, therapeutic environment in which our students can feel valued and safe. Several university research studies have shown that students learn best when they are relaxed and feel a sense of personal safety. In the past several years, The Pathway School has implemented a series of safety measures to help keep all on campus safe and secure.
- Our safety measures begin the moment students arrive on campus. All students are greeted by staff, and are (informally) assessed. Should a student seem agitated or unduly upset, a staff member is directed to the student so they can talk out issues the student may be having. This strategy is designed to be proactive and allow all students on campus to have a productive start to their school day.
- Most classrooms begin the school day with a “morning meeting”. This is designed to help the student adjust to the school day and can help staff identify whether a student may be agitated or upset. Again, staff are directed to any student who seems to be in need of support, this process has been effective in redirecting students and helping them to have a productive day.
- All buildings are locked and require an appropriate electronic identification badge to enter. ID badges are specific to each building, meaning not every ID badge will unlock every building door.
- We are attuned to visitors on campus. Staff are prepared to question an unattended visitor and direct them to the Administration building for registration, etc.
- All staff are trained in safe intervention techniques should there be a need for physical intervention (therapeutic or otherwise).
- We encourage our students to speak with staff when they have concerns, and we participate in the Pennsylvania’s Safe2Say program https://www.safe2saypa.org/ which is designed to allow concerned individuals identify safety concerns at Pathway.
- Any student who has been identified as being agitated, disruptive or significantly impacting a classroom with disruptive behavior undergoes a risk assessment by one of the members of the clinical team. The aim of this process is to determine how viable a threat of self-harm, or of harm to the school community might be. If the student is determined to be a threat to themselves or to others, further action is taken, including counseling, hospitalization or in extreme circumstances, contacting the local police.
- Annually, the entire school community completes active shooter training. All staff are required to complete safety trainings designed to prevent or to act appropriately in situations like what occurred yesterday in Uvalde.
- We coordinate our safety measures and trainings with the local police, so they are aware of our processes and can act in a coordinated manner should the situation arise.
Sadly, no amount of training, preparation and implementation can fully protect our school from events like those in Buffalo and Uvalde. We all must remain vigilant and act decisively when unsafe situations arise. We are a school, and while learning and personal growth should be our biggest priority, in the past couple of years, the personal safety of all on our campus, and those they go home to, are equally a priority at Pathway.
- Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
- How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings
- Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth after Mass Violence
Thank you for your continued support and understanding. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.
President & CEO