Uvalde Tragedy

Dear North Colonie Families:

Sadly and unthinkably, this is the second week in a row that I write to you in the wake of a senseless tragedy involving gun violence. Our hearts are heavy with the constant news of the unthinkable loss of 19 beautiful children and their two courageous teachers while we were still processing the horrible tragedy that occurred in Buffalo. The images we see on television are raw, real, and too difficult to bear. They are a reminder that our thoughts, compassion, and prayers need to also be followed by actions to create a physically and emotionally safe environment that proactively and dramatically mitigates the opportunity for such horrific acts to reoccur. To this end, North Colonie has accomplished the following:

Physical Security Enhancements:

  • Installed intruder classroom locks in all classrooms to allow doors to be locked from the inside so staff do not need to enter the hallway to secure the room.
  • Constructed secure entrance vestibules at all schools to control visitor access to the buildings.
  • Installed security window film at all major points of entry to buildings with a film that enhances the strength to the window glass.
  • Enhanced communications to initiate lockdown procedures and inform internal and external publics
  • Installed new PA systems and phones in all classrooms

Collaboration and Partnership with the Colonie Police Department:

  • Employed a full time Colonie Police Officer, stationed at the high school, as a School Resource Officer
  • Work collaboratively with the department when issues and events present as well as the conduct of safety audits, drills, process, and procedural reviews, 
  • Host once or twice a year active shooter response team training in multiple school buildings. This training often involves multiple agencies including Albany, Troy, and NYS units. It has been expanded to include explosives mitigation.

District Safety Team:

  • Meets four times annually to review responses to events and review and revise process, and procedures as needed.
  • Includes Colonie PD, EMS, fire services, administration, Board of Education, school mental health team members, teachers, and parents as members..

Enhanced Mental Health Support:

  • Added four school social workers and two additional counselors
  • Collaborated with Capital Region BOCES and Northern Rivers to establish a mental health clinic based in the high school
  • Established school-based mental health teams to identify and connect with students and families in need of support. Such teams are connected and coordinated through a districtwide K-12 team.

Please know that we continue to work with the safety and security  of our students at the forefront of our efforts. We work in the spirit of continuous improvement to insure an environment that is physically safe and promotes the social-emotional well-being of all students and families.

I want to reiterate that our counselors, social workers, psychologists and the entire school community are here  to assist children and families who are struggling in the aftermath of these events. We again share with you these resources which may be helpful:

Daily, I am inspired by our students’ kindness, compassion, knowledge, and commitment to a better world. They give us all a hope for the future that is a sustaining light in this period of intense darkness. . While moments like this are exceptionally hard and difficult to process,  know that the North Colonie community is here for you. We are all in this together. Now, more than ever, we need to acknowledge what is broken and collectively commit healing through positive, peaceful change.

In this spirit, I would like to leave you with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Now, more than ever, love, compassion, and understanding must be the driving force as we work together in order to best serve all of our students and families.


D. Joseph Corr