School Resource Officers’ Update – September 12, 2012
School resource officers Martin Knaul and Michael Nord would like to remind all district residents that passing a school bus with its red lights flashing is illegal and dangerous. When a school bus flashes its red lights, all traffic, from either direction, must stop before reaching the bus because students are either entering or exiting the bus. Failure to stop for a school bus could result in the injury or death of a student.
This law applies on all roadways in New York, even if the bus is on the opposite side of a divided highway, as well as to when a bus is in front of a school or in a parking lot. You may not drive until the bus’ red lights stop flashing.
Fines for passing a stopped school bus range from $250 to $1,000.
Officer Knaul and Deputy Nord remind drivers to prepare to stop when they see a bus flash its yellow warning lights, which is a signal that the bus is stopping to load or unload its passengers.
School Resource Officers’ Update – February 2012
On February 7, a 51- year-old male from Staten Island and a 15-year-old Baldwinsville teenager were arrested and charged with Falsely Reporting an Incident 1st degree, which is a felony.
The arrests were the result of an investigation of a bomb threat to Baker High School on January 17. Students and staff were evacuated from the school that morning but later returned to finish the school day after school officials, with the assistance of law enforcement officers, had completed a search of the building.
School resource officer Martin Knaul and Deputy Michael Nord said an individual charged with making a bomb threat could receive up to seven years in jail, depending on if he or she is an adult or a juvenile. Besides criminal penalties, a student who makes a bomb threat is subject to district disciplinary action. Making a bomb threat is a violation of the district’s Code of Conduct and may result in suspension from school for a year or more and require counseling as a condition of returning to school. This discipline will be on a student’s permanent record and could affect acceptance into college as well as employment possibilities.
Besides the disruption or cancelation of classes and extracurricular activities, Deputy Nord noted that there are also safety risks involved with a bomb threat. When a school must be evacuated, there are safety risks in the mass movement of students and staff to other buildings for shelter. Emergency services, such as fire and ambulance, will respond to the situation or be on standby. These services, as well as those of law enforcement, might be delayed or not available for a true emergency if they are tied up with a bomb threat.
Officer Knaul also noted that there could be financial ramifications for an individual charged with making a bomb threat, should a school district and/or the agencies responding to the situation pursue civil action for monetary reimbursement of the cost of the emergency.
Officer Knaul and Deputy Nord stressed that making a bomb threat is not a harmless prank. It is a serious offense that can tarnish a student’s academic record, embarrass family and friends, and lead to an arrest record and possible jail time.
SRO Message – Fall 2011
The Baldwinsville Central School District has a new school resource officer on the beat this year. Michael Nord, a deputy with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department, is based at Durgee Junior High School. He responds to calls at the junior high as well as at McNamara Elementary School, Palmer Elementary School, Reynolds Elementary School, and Ray Middle School. He is also available to respond to calls at Baker High School, Elden Elementary School and Van Buren Elementary School if he is needed to assist Officer Marty Knaul, who is based at the high school. Because he’s a deputy with the Sheriff’s department, Deputy Nord is not limited to responding to calls in the village schools.
Deputy Nord has been with the Sheriff’s department for 11 years. He spent a year at Cicero – North Syracuse High School as the school’s resource officer. Nine years on road patrol in the Baldwinsville area has familiarized him with the community.
Officer Knaul and Deputy Nord are available to provide counseling and education to students, staff, and parents on issues such as Internet safety, drug abuse, and bullying and the legal ramifications involved with each issue. Deputy Nord said that often students are not aware of when certain behaviors or actions cross the line into criminal activity. He and Officer Knaul can counsel students to prevent issues from snowballing into bigger problems in school and potential legal problems.
The district’s school resource officers are invited into health classes to discuss subjects including alcohol, drugs, and cyberbullying. They are a presence at athletic events for crowd control and security. Officer Knaul said their presence is often enough of a deterrent to prevent problems at events. They also attend student disciplinary meetings with principals and assistant principals.
If you would like to speak with the school resource officers, Officer Knaul can be reached at 638-5610 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Deputy Nord can be contacted at 635-4566 or email@example.com. They have an open door policy to make themselves available to students, staff and parents.
School Resource Officers’ Update – June 2011
With graduation, prom and summer approaching, Baldwinsville Central School District School Resource Officers Martin Knaul and Christine Weeks would like to remind students and parents about the legal drinking age in New York State and laws pertaining to the consumption, serving and selling of alcoholic beverages.
Drinking Age – The drinking age in New York State is 21. It is illegal to consume and/or possess alcohol for those under 21. Officer Knaul said an exception to this law is if the beverage is given to the individual by his or her parent or guardian. For example, a parent may allow their own child to have a glass of wine with dinner on a special occasion. However, he said providing the child with alcohol and letting him or her drink until intoxicated is illegal and could be consider unlawfully dealing with a child.
Officer Weeks stressed that it is especially important to monitor guests who are under 21 at graduation parties and other celebrations you are hosting at which you are serving alcohol. As a host, you can be sued and you can face legal charges should any guest under 21 become intoxicated at your home and end up injuring themselves or someone else.
Zero Tolerance Law – It is illegal for any driver under the age of 21 to consume any amount of alcohol. Any driver under 21 who law enforcement determines has consumed alcohol is subject to a possible fine and suspension of license.
Fake or Forged I.D.s – It is illegal to use a fake I.D. to purchase alcohol. It is also illegal to tamper with a driver’s license, which those under 21 sometimes do to try to purchase alcohol. A driver can lose his or her driver’s license for a period if he or she has altered the license. Officer Knaul said this is considered criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, and it’s a felony.
District’s Code of Conduct - Officers Knaul and Weeks remind students that the use, possession, sale or distribution of alcohol on school district property or at school district functions is a violation of the Baldwinsville Central School District’s Code of Conduct and could result in suspension. It is also a violation of the district’s Co- and Extra-Curricular Activities Code of Conduct (sports, clubs and events) and could result in suspension from these activities. These penalties and suspensions could be upheld by other districts as well.
Skip Days and Pranks - Officer Weeks noted that organized skip days are never authorized by the district. Class pranks are also not condoned by the district. They violate the Code of Conduct and are subject to school discipline as well as legal and financial consequences. Class pranks may jeopardize a student’s participation in the graduation ceremony.
If you would like to speak with Officers Knaul and Weeks you can contact Officer Knaul at 638-5610 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Officer Weeks can be contacted at 635-4566 or email@example.com
Information for Young Drivers and Their Parents - May 2011
From the BCSD School Resource Officers
Because motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers, Baldwinsville Central School District School Resource Officers Martin Knaul and Christine Weeks would like to remind parents and students that driving in New York State is a privilege, not a right. In February 2010, changes to New York State’s Licensing Laws for young drivers became effective. Officers Knaul and Weeks recommend that parents and students review these changes by visiting www.nysdmv.com/youngerdriver. This site provides details on obtaining a driving permit, obtaining a NYS license, restrictions for driving, based on the type of license, as well as a parent guide to teen driving. Baker High School students have the opportunity to take their permit test online, right at the high school, in the career center. Interested students should contact Sandy Lamb or Kim Alberts in the career center for more information and to schedule a time to take the test.
Officer Weeks stressed that anyone with a junior license is not allowed, by law, to drive unsupervised between the hours of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., unless they are driving to and from a school activity for which they will receive academic credit. No one with a junior license should be driving unsupervised to and from activities such as athletic events and dances. Also, a student with a junior license can drive unsupervised to and from a place of business for work between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Officer Weeks said that babysitting in a home is not considered working for a business.
Student drivers often have questions regarding parking on campus. Officer Knaul said that Baker students must apply for a parking permit in order to park in the student designated parking lots on campus. Students with parking permits may park in the two upper lots in the parking lot behind the high school, or in the lot at the Word of Life church. The high school assigns each student driver to one location, and usually seniors are assigned to the lot behind the school. Officer Knaul said that parking is regulated and monitored, and anyone found parking in the wrong lot, or in a lot without a permit, is subject to disciplinary action as well as the possible loss of parking privileges.
To obtain a parking permit, student drivers must be in good academic standing, have satisfactory attendance, and be free of any school debt. They must also complete the Alive @ 25 course, which is offered through the Town of Van Buren. For information on this course and how to register, visit the town’s website www.b-ville.com.
Officers Knaul and Weeks remind students that the district’s Code of Conduct rules apply to the parking lots. Any violations of the Code could result in having parking privileges revoked as well as other disciplinary action. The officers also remind students not to park in any parking lots or areas that are not designated specifically for Baker High School student parking. Officer Knaul has had several complaints this year from the Baldwinsville community regarding student vehicles parked in locations that are not student parking lots. He said that vehicles can be towed, resulting in fines.
School Resource Officers’ Update – March 2011
Baldwinsville School Resource Officers Martin Knaul and Christine Weeks report that there has been a significant rise in student physical and verbal altercations in Baldwinsville’s schools this year. They think this increase is probably due to students’ increased use of social media, such as Facebook and YouTube, as well as student use of cell phones to take photos, videos, and send text messages to bully their peers.
Officer Weeks said all of these tools move the “playground,” where bullies traditionally do their dirty work in front of a limited audience for a limited amount of time, to a broader audience for an unlimited amount of time. Social media attacks often spill over from the home to school in the form of verbal or physical altercations.
Officer Knaul said that students and parents may not realize that threatening violence or actual physical contact, such as pushing, slapping and hitting could be considered harassment or assault. Harassment and assault are criminal offenses punishable by law as well as subject to discipline by the school district, as outlined in the district’s Code of Conduct. Officers Knaul and Weeks said there are different classifications of harassment and assault, each carrying its own penalty.
Students and parents should be aware that there is another charge called aggravated harassment that involves communicating with a person, either electronically, by writing, or by telephone, including computer and texing, to annoy or alarm that person. Bullying and making threats in this manor could result in a misdemeanor charge under the penal law. Officer Weeks said that an individual convicted of this charge could serve jail time anywhere from 15 days to up to one year.
Another form of aggravated harassment is harassment that includes annoying, threatening, or alarming someone because of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation. It also includes placing a swastika on public or private property, setting a cross on fire in public view, and displaying a noose on any public or private property. Officers Knaul and Weeks have seen an increase in bullying and threats regarding these issues as well. This offense is a felony and could have a punishment of at least one year in jail if convicted.
Officer Weeks said that children as young as 8 years old can be arrested and charged with aggravated harassment, should a victim or a victim’s parents choose to press charges. Officers Knaul and Weeks suggest parents monitor their children’s computer and cell phone use and speak with them about the legal ramifications and school discipline should bullying result in harassment or assault at school.
School Resource Officers’ Update – February 2011
Because the Baldwinsville Central School District is committed to providing students with a safe and productive learning environment, bullying in any form is strictly prohibited on school property, in school buildings, and at school sponsored events and activities that occur on and off campus. School Resource Officers Martin Knaul and Christine Weeks remind parents and students that all forms of bullying are punishable as stipulated in the district’s Code of Conduct.
Officer Knaul said that although parents and students are familiar with the traditional definition of bullying, which includes physical, verbal and psychological threats to an individual’s well being, many may not be as familiar with cyberbullying and what it encompasses. Officer Knaul said that cyberbullying includes, but is not limited to, the misuse of technology tools to harass, threaten, intimidate or threaten an individual. Technology tools include computers, the Internet, social media and cell phones.
Technology tools enable individuals to harass others outside of school, at any hour of the day, and often anonymously. Officer Knaul noted that many parents and students do not realize that cyberbullying can be considered aggravated harassment, which is a misdemeanor and punishable by law. Cyberbullying that occurs off-campus, but causes or threatens to cause a disruption in school may be subject to disciplinary action from the school district. Officer Knaul commented that cyberbullying tends to generate physical confrontations at school.
He suggests that parents periodically check their children’s computers, email, and cell phones to see what they are doing and with whom they are communicating. Parents are legally responsible for the content on their children’s computers and cell phones.
Officer Weeks noted that parents can purchase filtering and monitoring software for their home computers. She recommends consulting with your online service provider to find out what filtering and monitoring programs the provider offers. Parents looking for a good resource on Internet safety and cyberbullying should visit www.netsmartz.org.
In cases of cyberbullying, Officer Knaul said that parents are tending to wait until bullying behavior occurs at school to contact school administrators. If a parent discovers that a child is the victim of cyberbullying or any form of bullying, or is the one doing the bullying, he or she should contact the child’s school administrator as soon as possible to prevent the bullying from evolving further. Administrators, parents and students can then begin an educational dialogue on the potential legal ramifications of bullying as well as the possible school disciplinary actions should the bullying begin to disrupt the school environment.
Earlier this school year the Baldwinsville Central School District provided presentations on Internet safety, including cyberbullying, for staff and community members. Baker High School presented an Internet safety program for its students on January 31 to continue the school’s dialogue on bullying that began in December with the school’s special half-day “Stand Up! Don’t Stand By” program.
If you have any concerns about bullying or cyberbullying, contact your child’s school administrator. If you would like to speak with Officers Knaul and Weeks you can contact Officer Knaul at 638-5610 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and Officer Weeks can be contacted at 635-4566 or email@example.com
School Resource Officers’ Update – January 2011
Cell Phones and Sexting
School Resource Officers Martin Knaul and Christine Weeks would like to remind students and parents of the Baldwinsville Central School District’s cell phone policy, as stipulated in the district’s Code of Conduct. The policy states, “Students may not possess cell phones at school during the school day.” They must be in students’ lockers while school is in session.
There are several reasons for this policy. Officer Weeks explained that cell phones can be used for activities that disrupt learning and compromise student and staff safety, including cheating, photographing and filming planned fights, and taking and disseminating inappropriate photos. In order to maintain a respectful and safe environment that is conducive to learning, the district wants to remove the possibility of abuses of this nature during school hours. Because student cell phone use cannot be easily monitored by staff members, banning cell phones from school while classes are in session reduces these abuses.
Officer Knaul noted that there are students in the district’s schools who carry their cell phones in their pockets and bags during the school day, in violation of the Code of Conduct. The district’s penalties for electronic devices violations, which include cell phones, range from warning and confiscation to out-of-school suspension. The Code of Conduct is available for review at any of the district’s schools, and you can find it on the district’s website, in its entirety, under “District Info & Data” on the left side of the home page.
Officer Knaul said that some parents are concerned about the ability to contact their children during the school day when their children do not have their cell phones with them. He said any parent may call his or her child’s school and ask to have the child called to the office to use the school’s phone. If a student needs to reach his or her parents, he or she may do so using the office phone.
One of the abuses of cell phones that Officers Knaul and Weeks have encountered in district schools and in the community is sexting. Officer Weeks said sexting is loosely defined as use of electronic communication to send sexually explicit messages or photos, primarily between cell phones. Possessing or disseminating this material is a felony when the subject of the photo is under 18 years old. Officer Weeks said that many students and parents are still not aware that this is a crime, or that parents are responsible for anything their children send with a cell phone or store on a cell phone.
Officers Knaul and Weeks noted that there is not one specific law that addresses sexting, but a whole gamut of laws under which it may fall, including obscenity laws, pornography laws, and endangering the welfare of a child. Anyone using a cell phone to possess or disseminate sexually explicit material of a minor (17 years old and under) could be charged with a felony and required to register as a sex offender.
Officer Weeks said that in Onondaga County the district attorney considers sexting cases based on each case’s own conditions and characteristics, including who sent what to whom, how many times, and what the intent of the photo(s) or message(s) was. Officer Weeks said that cases in which girlfriends and boyfriends share explicit photos of each other, over the cell phone, for their eyes only are quite different from cases in which individuals forward explicit photos of someone for various reasons, including revenge or for money.
Officers Knaul and Weeks advise parents to be vigilant in checking their children’s cell phones to see who they are communicating with and what they are sending, receiving, and storing on their cell phones. If you would like to speak with Officers Knaul and Weeks regarding cell phones, sexting, or any other matter of concern, you can contact Officer Knaul at 638-5610 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and Officer Weeks can be contacted at 635-4566 or email@example.com
SRO Update – December 2010
Baldwinsville police officers Martin Knaul and Christine Weeks, who are the school resource officers for the Baldwinsville Central School District, report that there are two drugs that law enforcement officers in the Central New York area have been encountering lately. “Molly” is a relatively new drug in the area. It is an off-white powdery substance and may be contained in a gelatin capsule. Officer Weeks said this drug has properties similar to those of Ecstasy and causes euphoria and stimulant-like effects. Other street names for this substance are legal E, legal X, or A2. Officers Knaul and Weeks noted that Molly has not been found in any of the district’s schools; however, local police officers have encountered it in the Baldwinsville community.
Another drug parents should be concerned about is heroin, which Officer Knaul said is making a resurgence in Central New York. Neither he nor Officer Weeks has encountered it yet in any of the district’s schools. Heroin is a highly addictive drug that is derived from morphine, which is an opiate. It acts as a depressant. Heroin can be a white to dark brown powder or a tar-like substance. It can be injected, smoked, or snorted. Officer Weeks noted that the Onondaga County Probation Department has reported that, in general, there is a resurgence in the use of opiates in the area.
Officers Knaul and Weeks stressed that marijuana, alcohol, prescription drug use and abuse and tobacco use are still a regional problem. Parents and students need to be cognizant of the physical and legal consequences of drug use, as well as school consequences, which are outlined in the district’s Code of Conduct.
The Code of Conduct can be found on line at www.bville.org. Under the heading “Parents” at the top of the home page, you will find a link to “Code of Conduct.” Page 13 of the document describes the infraction of drug possession, use or sale. The district’s penalties for violations of the Code of Conduct begin on page 26, and Appendix B-54 specifies the penalties for possession, use, sale, or for being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Code of Conduct is also available for review at any of the district’s schools.
The Baldwinsville Central School District is committed to providing all students with a safe and healthy learning environment by continuing to be proactive in the area of drug use and abuse. On December 10, all of the district’s school social workers, school psychologists, nurses and nursing staff, and guidance staff members, as well as several administrators, will receive training from the Poison Control Center regarding signs and symptoms of drug use, as well as how to address the problem if they encounter it in their schools. Officers Knaul and Weeks will also be in attendance to provide relevant information.
If you are concerned that your child may be abusing alcohol or drugs, Officers Knaul and Weeks suggest that you contact your child’s health care provider for a physical and for referrals to agencies for more information and help with substance abuse. If you would like to speak with the school resource officers, Officer Knaul can be reached at 638-5610 or firstname.lastname@example.org
and Officer Weeks can be contacted at 635-4566 or email@example.com