On Monday, November 18, 2013, approximately 90 residents, teachers, students, and school employees met to discuss safety concerns in the Upper Darby School District’s public schools.
Promoted as A Conversation about School Safety, the event was co-sponsored by the Upper Darby School District and the Upper Darby Parent Coalition (UDPC). School district representatives in attendance included Upper Darby Superintendent Dr. Richard Dunlap, Director of Safety and Attendance Louis Gentile, and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Daniel McGarry. The meeting was held in the Board Room of the Upper Darby High School.
Prior to the meeting, attendees were asked to write their questions about school safety on index cards. Similar concerns were grouped together under headers such as Communication, School Environment, and School District Policies. These groupings provided the basis for most of the evening’s discussion points. UDPC members Bill Kaplan and Kate Smith managed the flow of dialogue between the attendees and district administrators.
During the two-hour meeting, participants asked questions about cyber-bullying, bus safety, a student’s right to self-defense, surveillance cameras, school staff safety training, consistent application of safety policies across the 14 schools in the district, and the placement of security officers in school buildings. Parents and guardians were reminded that if they have questions about any activity that directly involves their child, they can contact the building principal to ask questions and request witness statements and incident reports.
Throughout the meeting, attendees were encouraged to ask difficult questions and expect complicated answers. District administration emphasized that complex solutions may not be able to be implemented immediately because the district must thoroughly evaluate the options that are best for the students, teachers, parents, and taxpayers of the community.
Surveys indicated that participants were overwhelmingly pleased with the outcomes of the meeting. Many also appreciated the opportunity to have an honest, open dialogue with district leaders.
In closing the meeting, Dr. Dunlap stated that one of his goals is for the Upper Darby district schools “to be a safe place for achievement for all of our teachers, parents, and students.” Many topics mentioned during the meeting became part of a “to-do list” for parents and district administration — a clear and visible reminder that the Upper Darby School District community is eager to work together to help achieve Dr. Dunlap’s goal.
Upper Darby Parent Coalition Invites You to Participate in a Conversation with Superintendent Dr. Richard Dunlap
A Conversation about School Safety
In school districts across the country, student safety is a top priority. Join
Dr. Dunlap for a candid discussion about safety concerns in the Upper Darby schools. This discussion will include a brief presentation about the District’s current safety protocols, and an open forum for comments and questions. Parents, guardians, teachers, and community members are encouraged to attend.
Upper Darby High School Board Room
601 N. Lansdowne Avenue
Upper Darby, PA
Upper Darby Parent Coalition
Working Together for Quality Public Education