Policy 1510-4200-7270

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SCHOOL SAFETY   Policy Code:   1510/4200/7270

Safe schools are critical to creating a learning environment in which students can succeed. Staff and students share the responsibility for taking reasonable precautions and following established safety measures to create and maintain safe schools. The following safety measures must be implemented at each school.

Contents

A. SUPERVISION OF STUDENTS

Students must be reasonably supervised while in the care and custody of the school system. This supervision must occur throughout school hours, including during class, between classes, on the playground, and during recess or lunch periods; during authorized school field trips; and on school buses. Reasonable precautions should be taken to protect the safety of students on school grounds and on buses before, during and after school.

Students who are subject to policy 4260, Student Sex Offenders, and are receiving educational services on school property must be supervised by school personnel at all times.

B. SUPERVISION OF VISITORS

School administrators shall strictly enforce policy 5015, School Volunteers, and policy 5020, Visitors to the Schools.

C. SAFETY OF SCHOOL BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS

The superintendent and each building principal shall comply with all duties set out for their respective positions in G.S. 115C-288(d) and G.S. 115C-525 to minimize fire hazards. The principal is required to inspect school buildings, playgrounds, and equipment for health, fire, and safety hazards on a regular basis, as required by law, and to notify the superintendent immediately of unsanitary conditions or repairs needed to meet safety standards.

Any employee who observes any potential hazards must notify the principal or the employee’s supervisor immediately.

All warning systems must meet building and equipment codes required by law and must be properly maintained. When necessary, proper signs indicating potential hazards or recommended safety precautions must be posted.

D. ESTABLISHING PROCESSES TO ADDRESS POTENTIAL SAFETY CONCERNS AND EMERGENCIES

  1. Responding to Student Altercations and Other Threats to Safety
    All school system employees have a duty to be alert at all times to situations that may pose a threat to the safety of students, employees, or visitors on school property, at school events, or in other situations in which the students are under the authority of school employees. Even an employee who does not have responsibility for supervising students is expected to make an immediate report if the employee observes or has reason to suspect that a situation poses a threat to safety and no administrator, teacher, or other supervisory employee is present and aware of the potential threat.
    Teachers, teacher assistants, coaches, and other employees with responsibility for supervising students will use appropriate student behavior management techniques to maintain order and discipline on school property, at school events, and anywhere that students are under the employees’ authority. Such employees must enforce the Code of Student Conduct and address student behavior in accordance with the school plan for management of student behavior (see policy 4302, School Plan for Management of Student Behavior).
    When employees with responsibility for supervising students have personal knowledge or actual notice of a student altercation or other situation that poses an immediate threat to safety, they shall use their professional judgement to determine how best to address the situation to protect the safety of everyone in the vicinity. Emergency procedures identified in a student’s Behavior Intervention Plan shall be followed to the maximum extent possible under the circumstances. For minor threats or altercations or altercations involving young children, the employee shall intervene directly to end the fight or address the safety threat if the employee can do so safely. An employee who encounters a situation that cannot be managed safely and effectively by that employee immediately shall request assistance from other employees or administrative staff and shall take steps to remove bystanders from the area. Only the degree of force or physical control reasonably necessary shall be used to re-establish a safe environment.
    Employees should take further action as appropriate in accordance with any response protocols established by the principal or superintendent. All employees are responsible for knowing and following such protocols to the fullest extent reasonable under the circumstances at the time.
  2. School Rules
    The principal or designee shall develop rules to help prevent accidents in school buildings, on school buses, and on school grounds.
  3. Training for Staff and Students
  4. Staff training must include detailed instruction on how to respond to a variety of emergency situations. In addition, staff should be able to recognize and respond to behavior, information, and related indicators that warn of impending problems. School personnel must teach and review with students (1) safety procedures, including fire safety procedures; (2) precautions for handling chemicals or potentially dangerous equipment; and (3) appropriate responses to threats to school safety.
  5. Safety Equipment
    School employees shall provide students with safety equipment as required by law and shall enforce school rules pertaining to wearing safety equipment. School employees shall wear and use appropriate safety equipment as required for the safe performance of their specific job assignments.
  6. Planning for Emergencies and Conducting Fire Drills and Other Emergency Drills
    The superintendent shall develop system-wide plans and procedures to address emergency situations. The superintendent must provide the Department of Public Safety’s Division of Emergency Management (Division) with emergency response information it requests for the School Risk Management Plan and the School Emergency Response Plan. The superintendent must also provide the Division and local law enforcement with schematic diagrams, including digital schematic diagrams, of all school facilities and updates of the schematic diagrams when the school system makes substantial facility modifications, such as the addition of new facilities or modifications to doors or windows. Schematic diagrams must meet any standards established by the Department of Public Instruction for the preparation and content of the diagrams. In addition, the superintendent shall provide local law enforcement with emergency access to key storage devices for all school buildings and with updated access to school building key storage devices when changes are made to the devices.
    As appropriate, the superintendent shall consult with local law enforcement agencies and emergency responders to plan for and conduct emergency drills. Principals, with the assistance of both law enforcement and emergency responders as appropriate, shall conduct fire drills as required by law and shall conduct other emergency drills in accordance with school system emergency plans and procedures.
  7. Reporting Suspicious Behavior
    Students should notify any staff member of any acts of violence, harassment, or bullying or any other unusual or suspicious behavior that may endanger safety. Ongoing student education efforts will aim at minimizing any fear, peer pressure, embarrassment, or other impediments to students reporting potential problems.
    Maintaining a safe school environment that is conducive to learning requires staff to be proactive in dealing with violence, harassment, and bullying. Staff members must report immediately to the principal any information regarding unusual or suspicious behavior or acts of violence, harassment, or bullying.
    Every principal is required to investigate and act upon any report of such behavior, including, when appropriate, reporting criminal activities to law enforcement, the State Board, and the superintendent or designee (see policy 1710-4021-7230, Prohibition Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying, policy 1720-4015-7225, Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying Complaint Procedure, and policy 4335, Criminal Behavior).
  8. Potential Threats of Registered Sex Offenders
    The principal of each school shall register with the North Carolina Sex Offender and Public Protection Registry to receive e-mail notification when a registered sex offender moves within a one-mile radius of the school.
  9. Student Behavior Standards
    Students are expected to meet behavior standards set forth in board policies.


Legal References: G.S. 14-208.18; 115C-36, -47, -81.4, -105.49, -105.53, -105.54, -166, -288, -289.1, -307, -390.3, -391.1, -521, -524, -525; State Board of Education Policies HRS-A-000, TCS-P-005

Cross References: Prohibition Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying (policy 1710-4021-7230), Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying Complaint Procedure (policy 1720-4015-7225), School Improvement Plan (policy 3430), Student Sex Offenders (policy 4260), Student Behavior policies (Policy 4300 series), School Volunteers (policy 5015), Visitors to the Schools (policy 5020), Registered Sex Offenders (policy 5022), Weapons and Explosives Prohibited (policy 5027-7275), Public Records – Retention, Release, and Disposition (policy 5070-7350), Relationship with Law Enforcement (policy 5120), Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Science Laboratories (policy 7265), Staff Responsibilities (policy 7300), Security of Facilities (policy 9220)

Other Resources: N.C. Center for Safer Schools 2013 Report to the Governor, available at https://www.ncdps.gov/div/JJ/CenterForSaferSchoolsReport2013-web(1).pdf; Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities, U.S. Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (January 2007), available at http://www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/safety/crisisplanning.html; Keeping North Carolina Schools Safe and Secure, A Report to Governor Mike Easley from Attorney General Roy Cooper and Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety Bryan Beatty (November 2006), available at http://www.ncdoj.gov/getdoc/2158e7b1-bd55-4cal-bdf4-80260f766926/Keeping-North-Carolina-Schools-Safe---Secure.aspx

Adopted: January 12, 2015

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