Safety is always at or near the top of the list when parents are asked about their educational concerns. Experts agree the campus safety requires a vibrant community partnership as well as a commitment to continually assess and respond to factors known to impact safety.
Many states require campus safety planning.
California has a law requiring each public K-12 school to have a campus safety plan that reflects partnerships and is based on the mentioned assessments. The tragic reality is that many schools here in California are most likely not in compliance with either the letter or the spirit of his law. The same is true in any state with similar laws.
The reasons for non-compliance are many and varied. That will be the subject of a future post. The presenting challenge is to get back into compliance as soon as possible.
The first step is to admit the problem!
Is your school in compliance? Don’t simply accept the principal’s word for it. Frequently school administrators have not been adequately trained and are not aware of the actual elements of the law.
Here in California you can ask a couple of simple questions?
Was the plan prepared by (not just reviewed by) the school site council or designated safety committee?
Did the SSC or committee follow the recommendations or use the tools found in the book, Safe Schools, a Planning Guide for Action published by the Department of Education?
Has the principal and/or anyone on the committee received compliance training?
Does the plan include an assessment of crime on and around campus?
Did local law enforcement consult with your committee?
Does the plan include specific procedures that create a safe and orderly environment conducive to learning at the school?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no” the school is not in compliance with either the letter or intent of the law.
The second step is to act!
If your school is not in compliance GET INVOLVED. This is not about assigning blame, it’s about protecting kids and their teachers. Ask to be part of your school’s safety committee and recommend training. In California your County Office of Education is required to offer compliance training.