JAMESTOWN – Jamestown Public School officials are taking action to improve safety within Jamestown High School following a fight last week.
In a statement to the media, officials said additional training and drills will take place with formal debriefings of the incident.
If the high school’s Student Resource Office is off, a different Jamestown Police Officer will be assigned to the school that day. During the fight last week, officials said the Jamestown SRO was not in the building.
Additional radios and updated photos of all students will be made accessible to staff. Professional development dedicated to de-escalating future fights will also be implemented.
An investigation of the school’s security system will also be included in the potential capital project plan to modernize the building.
The school also hopes to identify at-risk students who will be transferred to the district’s tech academy where personalized learning plans will be completed prior to return to the high school.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bret Apthorpe says this is only the start of a list of actions that he will take to ensure all students are safe.
“It is important that we learn from, and improve upon, our procedures to provide the safest environment for our children to learn.” said Dr. Apthorpe. “We have zero tolerance for any of the behavior that was seen at Jamestown High School last week. All students involved, if found guilty of the charges at a superintendent hearing, will receive the maximum legal consequence. Safety of our children is, and will continue to be, our number one priority.”
School officials believe the November 6th fight was related to events that occurred off school grounds. The fight between five students broke off into two groups: one that went outside and a second group that remained on the second floor.
Officials said the Jamestown Police Department arrived to witness the fight outside. They were not aware of the fight on the second floor, which is why there was a delay getting to the second floor.
The school resource officer, normally on duty, was absent for unrelated matters. There were at least 15 teachers who immediately responded to the fight in the hallway.
Jamestown Board of Education President Paul Abbott in a statement thanked the many teachers and other faculty who stepped in to help.
“I was struck by how many staff intervened and how no additional students became involved in any way,” said Abbott. “As I have stated before, the safety of our schools is priority number one. We are constantly looking at ways to improve and it is important that we look at it from a critical viewpoint so that we don’t make the same mistake twice.”
Abbott, a retired Lieutenant and Investigative Commander with the Jamestown Police Department, said going forward the district will hold more debriefings to better prepare of future incidents.
“I have learned from my experiences that although we laud the positive actions taken, it is more important to assess what should have or could have been done better,” said Abbott. “I was never involved in a debriefing where it was decided that everything was perfect. The point of our Board of Education meeting was to look at this incident and try to improve as a district in order to avoid these types of events in the future. Last night wasn’t the end of the board’s involvement in this, it was simply the first formal action taken.”