5142 - Student safety

Policy 5142


Student Safety

The Newtown Board of Education (Board) shall strive to build safe, supportive, and academically challenging school learning environments in partnership with students, staff members and families.  The Board shall develop and adopt a mission statement that promotes a safe and secure environment for learning. Such mission statement shall emphasize respect, caring, and high academic achievement.

The Newtown Public Schools maintains an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), which serves as the official guidelines and procedures for security and safety within the District.  This EOP is an annex to the municipality’s Local Emergency Operations Plan.  The District EOP is reviewed and updated as necessary, and filed annually with DESPP/DEMHS pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Section 10-222k.  The EOP is completed and approved through a collaboration of efforts in the community, including the District Security and Safety Committee (DSSC).
The Board recognizes that effective school emergency management planning and the development of an all-hazards school plan cannot be accomplished in isolation.  We understand that it is critical for schools to work with the DSSC, district staff and community partners, including local emergency management staff, during the planning process.  The Board further recognizes the need to commit appropriate municipal resources to ongoing training, exercises, and maintenance required to maintain the EOP current.  The EOP is a blueprint that relies on the commitment and expertise of individuals within and outside of the school community.  Furthermore, clear communication, cooperation, and coordination between school and emergency management officials is essential.

The Board shall ensure that all facilities, grounds, equipment, and vehicles meet acceptable injury and violence prevention standards for design, installation, use and maintenance.

Student safety shall be a priority of all school district personnel through close supervision of students in all school buildings and grounds and through special attention to:
1.    Maintenance of safe school environments through conducting regular safety, vulnerability, and hazard assessments of all school facilities, school grounds, sports-related equipment and vehicles used to transport students.  Security and vulnerability assessments shall be conducted annually, resulting in a school safety plan for each school, based upon the assessment results.
2.    Safe practices by school personnel and students – particularly in instructional areas or in extracurricular activities presenting special hazards.
3.    Development of school programs and activities consistent with appropriate abilities and limitations of students at each age level.
4.    Offering safety education to students germane to particular subjects, such as laboratory courses in science, industrial arts, and health and physical education.                                                    
5.    Appropriate first aid care for students in case of accident or sudden illness.
6.    Adequacy of emergency response procedures at each school in the District (first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, infection control security).
7.    Development, adoption and implementation of a code of conduct and other appropriate rules that are designed to promote health and safety and prevent unintended injury, harassment, bullying and other forms of violence. Such code shall prohibit the use and possession of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and weapons and dangerous instruments at school.
8.    Training exercises for all school staff designed to help them maintain a positive climate for learning and to effectively enforce safety and discipline rules.
9.    Requiring the District and its individual schools to have safety and security plans which serve as a guide to address the various safety needs in the school, such as lockdown procedures, evacuations, drills and safety protocols, and personnel assignments.  The District’s Emergency Operations Plan for all schools shall annually be submitted to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DEMHS – Region 5 Coordinator).
10.    Conducting regular audits (at least annually) to evaluate and analyze the effectiveness of each school’s safety and security plans. First responders, local law enforcement and the entire school community shall be involved in this process.  Law enforcement and local public safety officials shall evaluate all fire and crisis response drills.
11.    Communicating with parents/guardians and community members about school-level emergency preparedness protocols to the greatest extent possible.
12.    Providing regular training for all school employees on the Districts’ school emergency management systems and protocols, as well as violence prevention training.
13.    Creating a partnership between schools, local law enforcement and appropriate community agencies, including mental health, to prevent and reduce school violence.
14.    Establishing a school security and safety committee at each school. Such committee shall be responsible for assisting in the development of the school’s security and safety plan and administering such plan.
15.    Assistance of the safe school climate committee at each school, originally established to address issues related to bullying in the school, to also collect, evaluate, and report information relating to instances of disturbing or threatening behavior that may not meet the statutory definition of bullying.
16.    Training staff in the use of technology (e.g. Alpine) to develop and document scientific-research based interventions for identified students needing support.
17.    Identifying, evaluating, and using data to support the physical, emotional, and social well-being of students.

(cf. 0100 - Mission Statement)
(cf. 5131/5144/5114 - Conduct/Discipline/Suspension/Expulsion)
(cf. 5131.21 - Terroristic Threats/Acts of Violent Behavior)
(cf. 5131.6 - Drugs/Alcohol and Tobacco)
(cf. 5131.7 - Weapons and Dangerous Instruments)
(cf. 5131.911 - Bullying/Safe School Climate Plan)
(cf. 5141.21 - Administering Medications)
(cf. 5141.22 - Communicable and Infectious Diseases)
(cf. 5141.3 - Student Health Assessments and Immunizations)
(cf. 5141.4 - Child Abuse and Neglect)
(cf. 5141.5 - Suicide Prevention)
(cf. 5141.6 - Crisis Management Plan)
(cf. 6142.1 - Family Life and Sex Education)
(cf. 6114 - Emergencies and Disaster Preparedness)
(cf. 6114.7 - Safe Schools)
(cf. 6114.8 - Pandemic/Epidemic Emergencies)

Legal Reference:    Connecticut General Statutes
10-220f Safety committee.
P.A. 13-3 An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety (Sections 86, 87, 88)

Policy adopted:      August 14, 2018                
NEWTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Newtown, Connecticut

Regulation 5142(a)

Student Safety

Procedures for Handling Crises, Emergencies 

The following guidelines are designed to ensure the health and safety of all Newtown Public School students during an emergency and/or crisis. The health and safety of students during a crisis require:

1.    The immediate and effective response to the actual emergency if such an emergency has occurred on, in, or near school property during school hours (i.e., violent intruder, disruptive demonstration).

2.    The immediate and effective response to the psychological trauma resulting from such an emergency.

The communication of accurate information is central to the effective response to the crisis or the trauma resulting from a crisis. The groups of people that require accurate information include the Superintendent/central administration, Principal/building administration, law enforcement and other first responders, staff, students, and parents/guardians. If the Superintendent/central administration first becomes aware of the emergency, they will then advise building administration.  If the Principal/building administration first becomes aware they are to advise central administration. Depending on the emergency, it may be necessary to first contact law enforcement, fire personnel and other first responders. If staff first becomes aware, they will inform the Principal who will, in turn, advise the Superintendent/central administration (or first responders, depending upon the emergency). Staff, students and parents will require accurate and timely information.

The Principal shall determine whether the emergency requires the utilization of an evacuation, lockdown or shelter-in-place response.

The School Security and Safety Committee (SSSC) shall assist in the development and administration of the school’s safety and security plan. The Committee is composed of: a local police officer, a local first responder, a teacher employed at the school, an administrator employed at the school, a mental health professional (guidance counselor, social worker, school psychologist, school nurse, or child mental health specialist) a parent/guardian of an enrolled student and any other person the Board of Education finds necessary. Parents/guardians serving on this committee must not have access to information about disturbing or threatening student behavior reported to the Committee as this may compromise student confidentiality.

The Role of School Personnel

The Director of Security in partnership with the District Security and Safety Committee (DSSC) is responsible for developing a plan of action to be used in the event of an emergency and for providing the Superintendent and each school Principal with a copy. The plan should specify which members of the school staff will be responsible for notifying the appropriate administrative officers and the policy, if required, and which members will be assigned supervision of key areas of the school plant.

As part of the overall plan, the each school Principal must become acquainted with police department personnel who may serve the school for the purpose of developing effective communications and working relationships.

If an emergency and/or crisis should occur on, in, or near the school site, the Principal or his or her designee must take the following actions immediately:

?    Report the incident to the police if the situation in the Principal’s judgment is serious enough to warrant police assistance.

?    Request emergency medical assistance if required.

?    Determine whether a lockdown, evacuation, safe school mode or shelter-in-place procedures are required and provide such information quickly to school staff and students.

?    In the event first responders (law enforcement, police) are called to the building, the National Incident Management System (NIMS) shall be utilized.

?    The Superintendent should be prepared to answer factual questions regarding the incident (e.g., who, when, where, how, etc.) to the news media. The Principal or his/her designee should not make statements to the news media unless he or she has had adequate time to assess the situation and review with the Superintendent or Public Information Officer.

If an emergency and/or crisis is in progress, faculty and staff should make every effort to retain students under their immediate control (lock down, shelter-in-place, evacuation). Movement of classes should cease until the situation permits the orderly movement of students from class to class. Selected staff and Emergency Response Team (ERT) members should be assigned to supervise areas of major concern.

Additionally, the Principal should take the following steps:

•    Discourage students from using the school telephone, cellular telephones and other electronic devices and instruct office personnel to make calls to homes to report any emergencies which students may have.

•    Designate one person to answer all incoming calls and relate to callers the facts of the incident as the Principal instructs.

•    Prepare a written report of the incident as soon as possible. The report should be forwarded to the Superintendent.

Take the necessary follow up action to carry out the administrative directives.

The Role of Police 

In the event a police officer is called to any public school to investigate an incident which involves a student enrolled in the school, he or she will determine the following:

•    the nature of the incident under investigation;
•    the extent of injuries, if any, and if the injuries sustained were a result of the incident under investigation;
•    the extent of disciplinary action taken by the particular school regarding the incident.

In those cases where it is determined that the disturbance or incident is of a minor nature, the investigating officer will request that any form of disciplinary action be handled by the Principal.

If, however, it is determined that a felony has been committed or that a severe injury has occurred, the officer will initiate an immediate investigation and make arrests whenever possible.

If a police officer is called to investigate an emergency/crisis which involves an expelled student, a student on suspension, or a person who is not a student, the officer will determine: 

•    the nature of the incident being investigated;
•    the extent of injuries, if any, and if the injuries sustained were a result of the incident being investigated;
•    the action taken by the particular school regarding the incident.
If the officer determines that either a state or local law has been violated by a suspended or expelled student, the officer will immediately prepare a report of the incident and, in addition, take the necessary action to alleviate the situation.

In situations where the nature of a complaint by school personnel to police is trespassing (not to be confused with disturbing the peace, property damage, etc.), it is the prior responsibility of the school Principal to advise the trespasser that he or she is in violation and that he or she must immediately leave school property or the administrator will request police assistance. Police assistance should be summoned if the Principal’s warning fails to cause the trespasser to leave or if the Principal is in doubt that the person so warned intends to leave the premises peacefully.

Upon the arrival of the police officer(s), a suspended or expelled student who is found to be trespassing will be arrested, and the name of the Principal or his or her designee will be used as the complainant in the offense report prepared by the investigating officer.

In the event of incidents which occur outside the jurisdiction of the school and its personnel, the investigating officer will complete an offense report and take the necessary action regardless of the enrollment status of the student.

Any ranking police officer at the scene of an incident may, at his or her discretion, change or modify any part of the police officer’s procedure described in this section to suit the circumstances surrounding any particular incident with notification to his or her commanding officer.

Procedure for Handling Psychological Trauma Subsequent to a Crisis or Emergency 

Subsequent to an emergency or crisis, the building Principal convenes the School Security and Safety Committee (SSSC). The SSSC acts as an advisory panel to the Principal. The initial objective of the SSSC is to gather all factual information relating to the emergency. The team then evaluates the impact of the crisis on staff and students and generates corrective strategies. The Director of Pupil Personnel Services will provide additional psychologists, social workers, nurses or other specialists to the effected schools as needed and/or requested.

The steps taken by the SSSC will depend upon the emergency. The following are provided as examples of SSSC activities and is not intended to be exhaustive.

Suggested SSSC procedures

•    Delegate appropriate responsibilities among team members.
•    Prepare and distribute a written statement of facts for staff.
•    Decide where and when to share information with students.
•    Develop special plans for classes directly affected.
•    Meet with identified classes by room or in assembly to review facts, inform them of crisis counseling centers, discuss feelings, encourage them to be supportive of each other and discuss feelings with parents.
•    Develop appropriate support systems within the school (e.g., counseling crisis centers, groups for students, staff).
•    Prepare and distribute letter to send home to parents to let them know what is being done at school.
•    Decide when it is appropriate to contact certain parents individually.
•    Identify students who may be at risk.
•    In cases of death, obtain funeral information and share it; plan memorial services. (It is suggested that, in the case of suicide, memorial services not be held in the school building.)
•    Assess long term effects on school.
•    Schedule faculty meetings before and after school day. Guidelines for initial and follow up faculty meetings are provided below.

It is important that staff receive accurate and timely information about the emergency or crisis. While a written statement of facts may be prepared for staff and distributed during the day, a faculty meeting should be held as quickly as possible. Additional faculty meetings should be held as needed.

Communication of factual information to parents is essential. All efforts will be made to accurately communicate with parents.

Procedures for Handling School Bus Accidents

Subsequent to a school bus accident, the building Principal or his/her designee will follow procedures outlined in Policy and Regulation 3541.35 – Procedures to be Followed in the Event of an Accident to a Bus. 

Regulation approved: August 14, 2018    
NEWTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Newtown, Connecticut

Inspiring Each Student to Excel

3 Primrose St., Newtown, CT 06470
Phone: 203-426-7600