Swatting threat prompts Yonkers to overhaul safety and security plans for schools

Yonkers parents and school leaders came together Monday night for an important presentation on school safety and security.

News 12 Staff

Apr 11, 2023, 10:46 AM

Updated 402 days ago

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Yonkers parents and school leaders came together Monday night for an important presentation on school safety and security.
Parents got to hear from Altaris, which consults with the district on safety.
The company says it works with over 350 public and private schools in 68 districts across five states. The district is paying nearly $200,000 for Altaris's services.
A company rep spoke about the work that's already been done, including an assessment of the district's emergency management process. That involved site visits, interviews with key personnel and some training.
He says what's next is more training, a review of the assessment and an update on the district's emergency plan. This plan involves training on threat-assessment, student and parent outreach, drills, technology upgrades and lockdown system.
It comes as schools across the state have become targets of swatting calls.
Yonkers' Gorton High School was one of 36 New York schools targeted with false threats about two weeks ago.
There's also the fear of school shootings, fresh in some parents' minds after the Nashville school shooting a couple weeks ago.
Parents also heard a presentation on mental health and substance abuse.
Yonkers High School students Angela Kuriako and Priya Chacko tell News 12 that ever since someone was stabbed in the hallway earlier this year, student-staff relationships have improved. They say students have become more concerned about security, and less afraid to talk to staff.
"Students feel like they can actually talk to their teachers. They don't fear. They can just say what they want," says Priya Chacko, a junior.
"I feel like people could probably trust more people if they have a better relationship," adds Kuriako, a senior.
Building relationships among students, teachers, parents and staff is a big part of a security plan, not just fortifying schools.
Freshman Kelsey Gregorio agrees with the part about positive relationships.
"It'll be safer for the students because they'll feel trust in the teachers," she says.
Gregorio says students knew and trusted the security guard in middle school.
"They felt safe around him, and if you feel safe around the staff, then problems can stop from arising too."


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