At GSB, the safety of our students is our top priority. To that end, we regularly review our policies, procedures, and facilities to ensure that the GSB environment remains secure. Regrettably, given the number of incidents that have occurred in schools in the past several years, we must constantly be vigilant and proactive in our approach to this concern. As the academic year begins, it is important that you know about some of the ways we work to keep our students, teachers, parents and visitors as well as our campus safe
· GSB has a Director of Security and two other members of the security team. All are retired police officers and the Director, Michael Bailey, was formerly the Chief of Police in Washington Township and the Borough of Califon.
· GSB has a Crisis Management Team composed of administrators and staff. We meet on a regular basis to assure compliance with state law and best practices in this area. The group also engages in “tabletop” exercises to work through different scenarios and responses.
· The Peapack Gladstone and Chester Police Departments visit the campus often; on average, they are here once a week and partner with us on current practices in safety management.
· All visitors are required to sign in and wear a visitor name tag at either the Business Office (contractors, other guests) or in each division (parents, others) at the appropriate office. This does not include special events such as games, concerts, plays, etc. which are generally open to the public and usually, have a security person present.
· All employees are fingerprinted and undergo a criminal background check.
· By the end of the academic year, all faculty and staff will be certified in first aid and CPR; they will also have received training in the use of epi-pens and AED’s.
· As of late September, all employees will wear a photo ID throughout the school day and at most school-sponsored activities on campus.
· All buildings have an intercom system to assist with emergency communication, and each main office is equipped with walkie talkies.
· All classroom buildings have an automatic lock system. The Lower and Middle Schools are locked at 8:15 a.m. for the remainder of the day. Once Upper School teachers and students are issued their student IDs, the Upper School buildings will also be locked.
· The school has a lightning detection system. In the event of lightning in our area, an alarm will sound alerting anyone outdoors to move to a safe location.
· Multiple cameras are located around the campus to assist in monitoring public areas.
SAFETY & SECURITY DRILLS
· One fire drill and one safety drill are conducted each month in each division.
· For most major events, a uniformed officer from the Peapack Gladstone or Chester Police Department will be on site. · In the unfortunate occurrence of an emergency, the school will utilize the Bright Arrow Alert system to communicate with faculty, staff, parents, and students. Key personnel have administrative access to the system and received training in its implementation. It is the responsibility of parents to make sure contact information is accurate.
Maintaining the safety of everyone in the community requires our constant attention and a thoughtful, balanced approach. This ongoing process relies on both open communication and common sense. There are sure to be many occasions when these procedures cause delay, inconvenience or both, and we ask for your patience as we navigate the various issues. Furthermore, I anticipate that circumstances will require additional adjustments to our protocols moving forward.
Please know that this topic in general, is difficult to address absent emotion. After all, our children are that which is most precious. However, the issues of school safety must be handled in a rational manner, lest our solutions create even greater problems down the road.
We thank you for your support in this important and ongoing endeavor.
S. A. Rowell
Head of School