Dr. Joseph Ricca in Candid Meeting on School Security Tells Over 100 the State of Security of White Plains Schools

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WPCNR School Days. By John F. Bailey. March 12, 2018:

Dr. Joseph Ricca, first year Superintendent of Schools for White Plains held  well over 100 parents, students and city officials, who came out the day after last week’s snow spellbound March 8. He sought and succeeded in easing many concerns on the state of security in White Plains schools.

He accomplished this by taking a long list of questions submitted prior to the start of the meeting and with a panel of the school district security consultant, principals from White Plains High School, middle school and  elementary schools, pyschologists, the school buildings and grounds administrator, and social workers  serving students, the professionals who know the school district and the procedures they follow every school day in handling a variety of matters.

In an hour and a half, Dr. Ricca and his panel spelled out how the schools handle very complex security concerns with established, detailed protocols, drills, and precedures on how potential threats are investigated and dealt with.

The transcript of the entire meeting as well as a television tape of the meeting is expected to be put up on the school website “in a few days,” according to the school district.Dr. Ricca urged strongly that  parents not attending the evening, and parents who did attend that any threat a child makes on social media, (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Instagram,) would be reported to the White Plains Police by the school district and their child would receive a police visit.

He said parents concerned about how to deal with their student’s behavior can call their school and get immediatnce help from the school psychologists and social workers, or receive referrals to an agency “readily” available. He ecouraged parents to take advantage of these resources and the social workers and psychologists elaborated on the circumstances they are prepared to deal with and look for in the students in their schools, in cooperation with teachers.

The security expert who analyzed all 9 of the White Plains schools beginning last spring, said he found White Plains was very involved in security and advanced in their training and protocols.

Dr. Ricca told those in attendance the White Plains does have School Resource Officers, who are  trained police officers from the White Plains Police Department who are armed.

In a statement on the meeting, Dr. Ricca commented,

“In the short term, we have:

* Ensured that all schools follow a limited point of entry (single or double)

* Have buzzer/camera systems enabled for all visitors

*Coordinated on-going training and drilling

*Coordinated with the White Plains Department of Public Safety for SROs, (School Resource Officers) patrols/visits and training

*Reinforced with our school communities (including all students)  that no visitors should be let in at any time through any door save the designated main entrance

*Provided support to our pupil personnel staff. We are also exploring additional community partnerships to engage with students who may be experiencing difficulty

* Reinforced digital citizenship expectations with our students (in an age-appropriate manner)

He said during the meeting that by next fall, White Plains High School and other elementary schools would receive upgrades in communications systems, door security and window upgrades. The following slide gives details on these security enhancements:

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