Police seek input on school safety

By Jay Braman Jr.
The Ulster County Sheriff’s Department wants residents to share their concerns on school safety as the department begins study on the matter.

The comments, which should be sent either through email or in letter form, will be used along with information garnered after local law enforcement administrators have appeared at area school public forums and have communicated with all Ulster County school superintendents to listen to concerns and answer questions posed.

“We thank you in advance for your participation and look forward to working with the community to make our county safer,” said Sheriff Paul VanBlarcum in prepared statement Monday.
“In light of recent widespread concern surrounding school safety, Sheriff Paul VanBlarcum and Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright are seeking written comment from the public,” the statement noted.

In the Onteora School District, school security issues were expected to be a prime topic of discussion at the January 8 board of trustees meeting. That meeting occurred after press time. Look for a full report next week.

Since the shooting tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Onteora officials have been barraged by calls from concerned parents wanting to know what the district is doing to make sure students are safe.
Immediately following that shooting, lockdown drills were performed at the middle school/high school in Boiceville by police.

Public submissions
Residents may e-mail the sheriff’s office at sheriff@co.ulster.ny.us or mail letters to: The Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, Attention: School Safety Concerns, 380 Boulevard, Kingston, N.Y. 12401.
The sheriff’s department is coordinating with state and local police, and the county Police Chief’s Association, to address school safety on a countywide level, in partnership with area school superintendents. .