New Safety Director Finds the Right Balance

Learn more how Brian Purdy is making our school safer!

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Mr. Purdy, the Director of Safety and Security, standing at his usual place.

We all remember our very first lock-down drill. Without Mr. Brian Purdy, we wouldn’t have been able to make it happen. Mr. Purdy is the Director of Safety and Security at GISNY. He might also be known as the person who stands at the front door when school begins and ends. But what does he really do for our community, and can he really make our school safe?

Never prop the door open!

Mr. Purdy started out as a police officer, but he didn’t launch that career intentionally. Many of his family members work as law enforcement officers. That is why he took a police exam during college, just to see how he would do. As Mr. Purdy got very good scores on the exam, he decided to give it a try. First, he worked for a long time as a police officer, then he started his second career, five years ago, as an officer in schools. GISNY didn’t have any sort of safety officer before Brian Purdy came to us last summer.

Our director of Safety and Security has already begun making the school a safer place.

Mr. Purdy feels that our first lock-down drill went well. Even though you could hear occasional giggles and laughter from various hiding places, he was, generally, impressed. Of course it can be hard to concentrate on being quiet, he says. After all, it was our very first drill. In line with New York State requirements, we will be doing three more of these lock-down drills this year, he explains.

But Mr. Purdy also believes in moderation. “Remember,” he says, “you must balance security and the learning environment.” We could build a 30-foot wall around the whole school, he suggests, with irony, but no one would want to learn in that kind of school. Even though the whole reason for lock-downs are to insulate the building and its inhabitants, we must keep every classroom welcoming and open to the sun.

In addition to preparing for lock-down drills and standing at the front door, Mr. Purdy has many other jobs. Sometimes you can see him supervising the breaks, making sure no one gets hurt and that everyone on school property is safe. This is why he plans to train the staff in CPR, which was originally done through extra training courses.

Mr. Purdy also manages the key card system. His rule of thumb: “Everyone must be here for the right reason.” He can check on a computer who enters any room, and when he or she leaves. If anything suspicious is going on, he also checks on that. Even though it is quite rare that a suspicious activity happens, Mr. Purdy needs the community’s readiness to respond, as he can’t be everywhere. Mr. Purdy asks that students always try to do the right thing, whether it be closing a door that is propped open, or letting an adult know immediately of a potentially dangerous situation. He has a simple motto: “Safety is everybody’s job.”