School Safety Plans
Posted on November 28, 2018 by CHS
Many parents today are concerned with school safety. Since 2004, all public schools in California have been required to develop a comprehensive school safety plan. School safety plans help ensure that schools are as prepared as possible for emergencies and also maintain safe and secure learning environments. Schools evaluate and amend their school safety plans at least once each year and as needed, to ensure the plan is properly implemented. School site councils or designated safety committees work with educators, classified staff, parents, and community leaders and consult with law enforcement to make sure plans are effective and current. Local school districts must approve safety plans for all schools in its district by March 1 of each year. In 2018, the California Department of Education announced that it would begin auditing the plans to ensure compliance. School safety plans can be accessed through your school district’s website.
What is included in my school’s school safety plan?
The California Department of Education Safe Schools Planning website provides tools to assist schools in developing a comprehensive safety plan, which includes the following elements:
- An assessment of crime at the school and at school related functions.
- Appropriate strategies and programs that provide and maintain a high level of school safety and addresses the school’s procedures for complying with existing laws related to school safety. These procedures include child abuse reporting procedures, disaster procedures, and crisis response plans, including adaptations for pupils with disabilities.
- Earthquake emergency procedures and building disaster plan emergency procedures and drills adapted to each school’s needs and circumstances. These procedures are developed in collaboration with first responders and community partners and may include the following situations: fire; relocation/evacuation; bomb threat; bioterrorism/hazardous materials; earthquake; flood; power failure/blackout; intruders; weapons/assault/hostage; explosion; gas/fumes; and fire.
- A drop procedure (students and staff take cover); dates/times the drop procedure drills are held (once each quarter in elementary and once each semester in secondary schools).
- Protective measures to be taken before, during, and after an earthquake, and a program to ensure that pupils and staff are aware of and are trained in the procedures.
- Procedures to allow a public agency, including the American Red Cross, to use school buildings, grounds, and equipment for mass care and welfare shelters during an emergency.
- Suspension/expulsion policies and procedures plan to notify teachers of dangerous pupils.
- The school’s discrimination and harassment policy, including hate crime reporting procedures and policies. The California Legislature requires that all schools have an anti-bullying policy that also includes cyber-bullying.
- The school dress code (if applicable)
- Procedures for safe entrance and exit of pupils, parents, and school employees to and from the school.
Additional Resources: There are many excellent resources available to parents and educators to learn more about school safety and preparedness:
- The California Department of Education Safe Schools Planning: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/vp/safeschlplanning.asp
- The California Department of Education School Safety and Violence Prevention page: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/vp/ssresources.asp
- The National Parent-Teacher Association School Safety: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/vp/safeschlplanning.asp
- The National Association of School Psychologists offers tips for parents on talking to children about violence: https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/talking-to-children-about-violence-tips-for-parents-and-teachers
- The National Crime Prevention Council: http://archive.ncpc.org/topics/school-safety.html