Arbor Hill safety update from Principal Gaines-Harrell

City School District of Albany

The following letter is from Arbor Hill Elementary School Principal Rosalind Gaines-Harrell:

Dear Families:

I am writing to provide you with information about the security matter that happened during our dismissal time Thursday afternoon.

At approximately 3:25 p.m. Thursday as we were releasing students to get on buses, five middle school students ran into our building and reported that a person with a weapon was chasing them. We immediately placed our building into lockout procedures as a precaution.

Students that had boarded buses prior to our lockout remained secured on the buses. Our staff brought other students who were outside of the building at that time inside, also in a secure space, while officers from the Albany Police Department as well as our district assistant director of safe schools and violence prevention responded to assist in our investigation.

When police officers respond to our building, they work hand-in-hand with our staff to make sure we are taking all appropriate steps to ensure a safe environment for everyone in our school community. During Thursday’s incident, that included making sure that none of the middle school students who entered our building seeking safety were in possession of any weapons. These students remained with our staff and police officers until their parents were contacted and they had a safe way home. 

Police officers did confiscate a knife from a teen-ager outside of our building. This was the individual accused of chasing the middle school students who ran into our building. The police arrested the individual who was in possession of the knife.

Following the guidance of the police, we lifted our lockout and returned to normal security measures by about 4:20 p.m. We continued with dismissal from that point without further incident. 

The swift action of our security team and staff should be commended. We also would like to thank our parents for your patience and support as we worked through this matter safely. Out of an abundance of caution, we also will have additional support at arrival and dismissal Friday.

If you have any additional questions about this matter, please contact me at (518) 475-6625.