PALS Meeting Minutes
February 27, 2019 9:15 a.m.
Roots of Faith
800 Main Street Pittsburgh, PA 15211
School Resource Officer Scott Bailey
During our November 2018 meeting we discussed the recent hire of Joe Kozarian as the FCASD School Safety and Security Coordinator. At the same time the FCASD Police Force was implement and School Resource Officers (SROs) were placed in all elementary schools. Officers from Indiana Township and O'Hara Township already cover the middle and high schools. These officers work in the capacity of safety and security for all people in the school they serve. They are trained to work with all students. They do not handle discipline issues with students.
Kerr SRO Scott Bailey reached out to PALS to share his personal and professional experience in working with differently abled children and adults in the capacity of an emergency responder/law enforcement officer. Scott brings to his new job in the district a lifetime of law enforcement and emergency responder experience. Scott's professional career has always included a personal element as he looks to help educate others in his field about working with members of our community, young and old, who are differently abled. With two son's with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis, he has always looked to help others in his field have a better understanding of vulnerable members of our communities and how to best help them in and out of an emergency. With this in mind, Scott began working with and training other officers in 2011-2012.
Scott worked with District Attorney Stephen Zappala, Jr. on the production of the well distributed DVD/digital video "Encountering People with Autism". This twenty minute video was designed as a part of a training program for emergency personnel and is available for view on the Allegheny County Chiefs of Police Association Youtube Channel. The scenarios depicted in the video are reenactments of real life experiences of the Bailey family. In fact, Scott and his family are the actors. We have included it here:
Scott let us know that it is the district's intention to have him train his fellow FCASD Police Officers in working with differently abled students. Being able to identify and work with our students with communication or intellectual differences is key to ensuring all students within the district are safe while at school. PALS parents hope this training also includes the O'Hara Township and Indiana Township Police Officers stationed at Dorseyville Middle School and Fox Chapel Area High School.
In addition to training fellow officers, Scott is also an officer with the Aspinwall Police Department and is an active member with Project Lifesaver (PLS) through the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office. PLS works directly with families to help keep differently abled members of our community safe. By completing a Premise Alert Packet families can identify the specific differences and needs of a family member to ensure their safety during an emergency. Information provided to PLS through the Alert Packet is uploaded into the 911 system and allows dispatchers to relay important information to first responders. For instance, if a member of your family tends to hide in the basement of your home when anxious or afraid, that information will be relayed to the responding fire department. It is Scott's understanding that FCASD has these packets readily available. One parent confirmed that a staff member shared a packet with her family.
Project Lifesaver also includes a directional antenna/transmitter tracking system for families with members who tend to elope or may accidentally wander off and not be able to return on their own. This system is available FREE to qualifying families in Allegheny County and has a range of three miles. There are currently about one hundred and fifty families using this system. The tracking devices are meant to be worn twenty-four hours a day and are durable enough to withstand water, dirt, and the nicks and knocks of life. Most communities have the same or similar systems and on most occasions can work together if a member of one community with a tracking bracelet is lost in a community outside of their own.
Scott was included in WPXI's Proud to Be From Pittsburgh segment featuring Project Lifesaver. The broadcast caught up with a family using the transmitter and a training session for first responders. The video is available on Scott Dobson's Youtube channel. We have also included it here:
Please visit ProjectLifeSaver.org for more information.
Scott is working with the Aspinwall Police Department to organize an informative training opportunity for members of the community in keeping children safe. PALS will share the date of that meeting and further information in a future newsletter.
Scott explained his involvement with Senate Bill No. 906, House Bills No. 104 and No. 503 related to an identification system for differently abled persons within the issuance of state (PennDoT) I.D.s. The idea is to provide a system in which families can use to identify the needs of an individual within their state issued I.D. so that it would be visible on the card and within the computer system. PennDOT opposed 906 and 104; 503 is still in the works and needs support.
Based on these Bills, a parent suggested the need for a Bill to help hold parents/caregivers harmless when working with families who have a member at risk for fleeing. She gave the example of finding a toddler wandering alone on a local road. She stopped, and because of her experience recognized the child was displaying signs of a communication difference. Had it not been for her intervention the parent could have faced endangerment or neglect charges.
Scott is working on developing a curriculum to help all students remember the important information they need to be able to share with first responders during an emergency. In April the Allegheny County 911 Van will be at Kerr Elementary. This program helps educate students on what, when, how of contacting 911. With the chance to practice in real time with real 911 dispatchers, children walk away with an unforgettable experience that may help them in a real emergency.
Related to Scott's presentation and as a result of some topics on the Fox Chapel District Forum Agenda for their February 26th meeting not being addressed, parents asked questions about safety measures within FCASD. Although Joe Kozarian, FCASD School Safety and Security Coordinator, was not present, Scott was kind enough to answer some of the questions. Here are a few of his responses:
The School Resource Officers placed in the FCASD elementary schools are members of the FCASD Police Force and employees of the school district. SROs at the middle and high school are employees of the O'Hara and Indiana Police Departments.
SROs are not involved in behavioral or disciplinary issues with students. These officers work in the capacity of safety and security for all people in the school they serve.
FCASD uses the CCM crisis plan and staff participated in ALICE training.
It is Scott's understanding Joe is currently working to update the district's safety plan/policies. Parents expressed they hope Scott is included in working on those plans as it relates to his experience and knowledge regarding working with students with different abilities.
Scott confirmed that SROs were provided with FCASD's safety policies and a job description upon hire.
Open Forum is an opportunity for participants to come together and discuss a variety of topics, offer resources, and ask questions related to special education. We welcomed a number of first time parents and encourage friends new, old, and still to be made to join us at our meetings as we work together to support each other.
FCASD Summer Programs
A parent reported that they were told by a staff member there is a change to FCASD's ESY (Extended School Year) and SLA (Summer Learning Academy) programs:
ESY will run July 1 - July 26, 2019 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
SLA will run July 8 - August 2nd 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
In the past both were provided on a full day schedule. We are looking into the change with the district and hope to provide an update at the next meeting.
Cherie River from River Therapies, an appreciated PALS donor, attended the meeting. Cherie handed out informational flyers and brochures about the wide variety of services provided at River Therapies. Please see the downloadable and printable samples below.
Next Meeting: March 20, 2019 9:15 a.m. Market District Café Atrium 910 Freeport Road Pittsburgh, PA 15238
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