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Letter regarding the tragedy at Santa Fe High School in Texas

The following is a message from Harrison Central School District Superintendent Dr. Louis N. Wool in response to the recent tragedy at Santa Fe High School in Texas.



Sadness       Action       Preparedness

May 21, 2018

Dear Members of the Harrison Central School District Learning Community,


As unthinkable and unimaginable as it seems, just a few months since the devastating tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I write again to express our profound condolences and a shared sorrow at the senseless loss of innocent lives at Santa Fe High School in Texas.  I reiterate and reassure you that the safety of our students and staff is and remains our first and most important priority.  


In the midst of another school shooting, we are consumed with angst, anger, and by a renewed commitment to action. In the wake of the Parkland tragedy, I visited each faculty, met with high school students, and every PTA. We spoke of important and reasoned changes that must be addressed to make schools and the very experience of childhood safe and sacred again. The Board of Education and I urged you then, and we urge you now, to let your voice be heard in this important call to action. Please click on this Board of Education Advocacy link, which provides you the opportunity to participate in demanding legislative reform at the state and federal level.

School safety is not a new issue to our school district, nor to me. At the time of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, I advocated as the President of the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents for legislative reform to improve oversight and limit access to firearms.  Please click here to read the opinion.


We are continuously upgrading and evaluating security in each of our schools. Everyone shares in the responsibility to make our schools safer by being attentive to those around us who may need help or who may benefit from the interventions and supports a caring school community can provide. Making us aware of students in need is the best way to keep everyone safe. Our schools are welcoming places, characterized by open communication among students, faculty and staff.  This is the single most effective tool for ensuring school safety.

We benefit from a strong and collaborative relationship with the Harrison Police Department. The HPD is dedicated to your child’s safety and are vital partners in our efforts to make our schools safe. The HPD participates in our safety drills and planning, provides feedback and advice, and utilizes our schools for training purposes. Most significantly, the District and the HPD have carefully aligned systems and communication protocols to ensure the most efficient and timely response to any emergencies.

The District has implemented a number of security initiatives over the past several years and has continued to upgrade security procedures throughout this school year. These include an ongoing review of procedures, implementation of the latest school safety technology, and the coordinated delivery of professional development and support to faculty and staff to improve readiness. Here are some of the initiatives I am able to share:

  • Beginning this coming September, all employees of HCSD will be able to lock down school from a secure app on their smart phone, greatly reducing response time to potential emergencies.
  • In September, high school students will receive an app that can be activated to indicate an emergency. The app provides direct communication between the student and school administration as well as the student’s location.
  • This past spring, the District implemented a background check system for visitors to our schools and now requires a photo ID at every entry point for visitors.
  • Each school maintains an emergency push-button system available to key personnel that disables card swipe access to the building and immediately notifies the HPD and administrators of a security emergency.
  • Over 150 high-resolution security cameras are used in our schools and the HPD has real-time access in order to assess the most appropriate action in a crisis situation.
  • Every District administrator and HPD has real-time, mobile, secure access to view cameras in all six schools.
  • Each District administrator utilizes a secure mobile security app that outlines emergency response procedures and includes floor plans and emergency phone numbers. The security app includes complete sets of the District Safety Plans, and is accessible to the HPD.  
  • Every HPD police car has a key that provides access to every door in every school in the event of an emergency.
  • Teachers can lock students and themselves in any classroom in the event of an emergency and we conduct practice drills with teachers and students.
  • Video and audio technology is installed at every school's main entrance so that visitors can be seen from head to toe by District personnel before they are permitted entrance.

We will continue to monitor and assess our security procedures and utilize new tools as they become available. However, the most important and effective part of any security plan is ensuring that our teachers, psychologists, social workers, building administrators and support staff have profound knowledge of, and authentic relationships with, the students we serve. Our greatest responsibility and our most effective strategy to promote student safety is ensuring that all students who require help receive it, and that no child goes unnoticed or unsupported.

We ask you, as our most important partners in keeping our children safe, to share information or concerns with our principals and appropriate support staff whenever you have information that you think may be important to the health, safety, security, and well-being of any one of our students or staff members.

We are thankful for your ongoing partnership, and be assured that we view the safety of your children as a sacred trust. We work diligently and passionately to ensure that our students are safe, nurtured, engaged in learning, and happy during their time in our schools.


Louis N. Wool, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Harrison Central School District

District Offices

Harrison Central School District
50 Union Ave.
Harrison, NY 10528

(914) 835-3300

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Our Mission and Values

The Harrison Central School District is dedicated to the belief that the most important endeavor in any community is the cooperative effort of parents, community members, and educators to ensure the best possible education of its children. The faculty and staff are committed to a mission of equity, access, rigor and adaptability for all of its students. These core values inform every aspect of our school district’s work.


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