October 12, 2023
Dear Hastings Family and Staff:
Hastings is a safe and secure school district and Village. I reiterate this fact because there are reports of nationwide social media posts related to the Israel-Hamas War that are attempting to sow fear and hatred among students. To be clear, we have zero tolerance in Hastings for words and acts that are anti-Semitic, anti-Arab or anti-Muslim, which is the currency of the social media posts.
In light of these social media postings, several points about safety and security are paramount:
No Credible Threats – While it is important to remain vigilant, our actions must be guided by reliable intelligence, best practices, and common sense. Our law enforcement partners have assured us that there are currently no active, credible threats to New York State, including those mentioned on recent social media posts.
Proactive Safety Measures - Hastings has well designed safety and security systems and procedures. We continually review and update our safety plans in collaboration with our law enforcement partners and security consultants to address potential threats and emergencies.
Collaboration with Law Enforcement - We maintain a close working relationship with the Hastings Police Department. Our collaboration ensures that we are continuously monitoring for any potential threats and can respond swiftly, if necessary.
Security Consultants - In addition to law enforcement, we work with Altaris, an experienced K-12 security consulting group, which provides guidance in assessing and improving our security measures.
Mental Health Support - We understand that these times can be emotionally challenging for students, staff, and parents alike. Our dedicated counselors and support staff are available to provide emotional support to anyone who may need it. Please reach out to us if your child requires assistance. Throughout this crisis, I am asking our teachers and administrators to be extra attentive to any students who we know to have direct connections to Israel and Gaza.
Open Communication - We are committed to maintaining an open line of communication with Hastings students, staff and families regarding safety and security concerns. We will keep you informed of any significant developments or changes in our security procedures.
Families need to be extra attentive to their children’s use of social media for the foreseeable future. Please be ready to have children turn off their social media sources, and please be ready to be of support if your children come across unsettling posts on social media.
We must continue to support each other during this tragic time, especially our students and families of the Jewish and Islamic faiths, and with connections to Israel and Gaza. As Sally Konbluth, MIT’s President, advised her community earlier this week, “Simple gestures of compassion and kindness can be incredibly important for people in the midst of such overwhelming suffering and uncertainty.” Hastings will continue to act on this wise guidance.