Bethlehem has both a comprehensive districtwide safety plan and building-level safety plans for each of our schools. There is a District Level Safety Team and there are individual Building Level Safety Teams. The safety teams are led by the Superintendent (district) and school principals (building). The teams partner with the Bethlehem Police Department and other law enforcement and emergency response agencies in developing the safety plans, which are reviewed and updated annually. These agencies have copies of the current plans. The districtwide plan is posted to the website. Building level plans that are more detailed are also updated annually. These plans are not publicly available. They are for official use only by law enforcement and the building-level emergency response teams.
During the school day, all of the schools in the district have a single point of entry for visitors that is locked. Visitors must use an intercom to state their name and the purpose of the visit to gain entry. They also must sign in at the main office with valid identification that is scanned using our Raptor ID system.
Video cameras are used on school grounds, in school buildings and on district buses. All seven schools have external security cameras and a network of internal security cameras that record 24/7.
Exterior doors are always locked and are attended by an adult when open. All interior doors have locks and those locks can be accessed by a push button on every interior door.
All employees of the Bethlehem Central School District, including substitutes, are required to be fingerprinted as a condition of employment.
Police are school partners
The district is in close communication with the Bethlehem Police Department at all times. The middle school and the high school are staffed by full-time School Resource Officers who are members of the Bethlehem Police Department. These officers are integral members of our school community, known to staff and students alike. The middle school SRO is also a resource for elementary schools and the police department will provide backup assistance for SROs when needed.
Throughout the year, the police department assists school personnel with lockdown drills. During the summer months, area police agencies often use the high school to stage multi-day response training to prepare their officers in the event of an emergency within a school setting.
See something, say something
An anonymous tip line is available to report any behavior that is concerning. The tip line is coordinated and staffed by the Bethlehem Police Department, providing an important resource for students and families in the community. The “see something, say something” confidential tip line number is 518-439-1503. The tip line provides a way to report someone who may be exhibiting signs of dangerous behavior, to themselves or to others. The district has posted placards with the tip line number in all buildings. The tip line will also be prominently displayed on the wallpaper background of all Chromebooks used by middle school and high school students.
Talking with your children about safety drills
The district uses standard language and standard plans for training staff and students on how to respond in the event of an emergency. Emergency drills are practiced throughout the school year. Learn more about our routine drills here.
Student mental health resources
Our Coordinated Health Team provides comprehensive counseling services to our students that emphasize mental health. Prior to COVID, we restructured our K-12 counseling program to offer these services in all of our buildings. We currently have several prevention and intervention services in our schools that support the mental, behavioral and social-emotional health of students and help promote success in the learning process with psychological, social and educational support. There are also mental health resources that BC families (not just students) can access through the Saratoga Center for the Family. You can reach out to your child’s school counselor if you want to access any of these services.
The district also has procedures in place for the early detection of potentially violent behaviors (threat assessment) when deemed appropriate. The district employs school social workers, counselors and psychologists/behavioral specialists who assist the district in identifying early warning signs in students and early intervention/prevention strategies.
Reaching you in an emergency
To ensure that we can reach you in the event of an emergency, we use the mass notification system School Messenger. The system is used primarily via email to inform parents of happenings at school. In the event of any emergency or when time is of the essence, we are able to use School Messenger to reach families via phone or text message. You must opt-in to receive text messages. You can check to see if you are signed up to receive text messages by texting “Y” to 67587. Parents who need to update their contact information should email District Registrar Melissa Haas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources for parents about school safety
Students and parents all have an important role in promoting school safety. Adults can provide leadership by reassuring students that schools are generally very safe places for children and youth and reiterating what safety measures and student supports are already in place in their schools. The New York State Center for School Safety provides several resources for families regarding student safety.