RENNSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In the wake of the Uvalde school shooting, NEWS10 ABC is taking a closer look at how school districts are keeping students and staff safe. We visited the Rensselaer City School District to see it for ourselves.
“Like most schools, we have a security system at the door where an employee would badge-in, or a guest would buzz-in,” explained Rensselaer City School District Superintendent Joe Kardash.
Guests have to enter through a vestibule, complete a background check, and wear a badge throughout the building once cleared.
In addition to the district’s secure process for entering the building, Kardash said it’s the work of the Rensselaer Police Department and School Resource Officer Dalton Austin-Michaud that makes their security efforts stand out.
“The kids know me as Officer M.,” Michaud said.
When he isn’t walking the halls, Officer M. is often monitoring outside and inside the school from the CCTV system setup in his office.
In addition to running lockdown drills throughout the year, Officer M. keeps in contact with other law enforcement agencies who would assist if there was an emergency.
“A big part of what I do here at the school is communicating with my dispatcher at the station. Once I’ve received information that something’s happening, I’ll let them know,” Officer M. said, referring to the “Blue Door” system the district has that allows outside law enforcement specific access to the building.
Kardash hopes Officer M.’s presence in the halls–handing out stickers, saying hello–will build a positive relationship between students and law enforcement, as well as foster a safe school environment.
“Having that ability for [students] to come to me, speak to me openly about concerns,” Officer M. said, “if they have comments questions, anything like that, my door is always open.”