Policy EBC: Safe Schools

1. Purpose

The Amherst-Pelham School District has an obligation to provideschool facilities and administrative procedures that help to protect thehealth and safety of students and staff in the event of an emergency ordisaster situation.  The potential for emergency situations requiresplanning and preparation, so that the actions initiated are appropriate,timely, responsive, coordinated and are communicated to and understoodby staff, students, their parents, and other affected members of thecommunity.

2. Definition

An emergency is a situation requiring evacuation and/or closure ofschools or cancellation/delay of transportation due to fire, inclementweather, bomb threats, explosives, chemical spills, dangerous weapons orother building plant problems, etc.

3. Plans/Guidelines

It is the policy of the Amherst-Pelham School District that eachschool have clear, comprehensive emergency plans and guidelinesappropriate to the school and be prepared to act accordingly.Individual school plans should concern actions to be taken in case ofevacuation (drill or actual), inclement weather, fire, building plantemergency, bomb threats, chemical spills, etc. Plans should allow forthe school’s uniqueness, but also meet the need for the school to act inconcert with this policy and any associated guidelines. School plansshould incorporate safety of students and staff, parent communication,building security, and means for alternative accommodations. Staff,students and parents should be made aware of plans for their school.

4. School Responsibilities

Every building principal will appoint an emergency team who willestablish response guidelines that shall be followed in the event ofemergency situations. Guidelines shall be reviewed annually by theTeam and shall address the following:
a. Development of a high level of understanding concerning security and safety by all staff members, as appropriate.
b. Procedures for events such as fire, building collapse, bomb threat,power outage, security breach (trespassers, intruders), and communitydisaster events.
c. The conduct of emergency evacuation drills, as appropriate, inconcert with local agencies, detailing the procedures referred to insubparagraph b. above.
d. Annual dissemination of written guidelines to staff, including substitute and temporary staff.
e. Notification to parents/guardians of procedures to be followed in theevent of emergency school closure, including a copy of the school’splans for meeting emergency situations. Each plan should addressconditions that are likely to occur when students are awaiting parentpickup or school personnel are unable to notify families in accordancewith provisions on emergency notification cards.
f. Provisions for the evacuation of special needs students.
g. Training for all staff in handling emergency situations.
h. Provisions for communication with students and parents as fully aspossible, and as soon as possible about the nature of an emergency andthe actions taken in response to it.

5. District Responsibilities

a. The Superintendent is empowered to close any or all schools, delaythe start of schools or dismiss schools early in case of severe weatheror other emergencies which threaten the safety or welfare of studentsand staff.
b. In the event a decision is made to close, delay, or dismiss theschools, the superintendent is responsible for communicating thisdecision to building principals and to parents via local area radiostations and other media outlets. A list of the outlets will beprovided to school principals at the beginning of the school year andshould be included in parent and staff handbooks.
c. The superintendent will publish district guidelines, in the form of aSchool Safety Manual, for preparing for and responding to threats tothe safety and security of students and staff.

6. Parent Responsibilities

a. Parents are expected to provide the school with information abouthow they can be reached in case of an emergency and about alternativehomes to which students can be taken when parents are not reachable.

7. Communication

a. In addition to information provided by principals to students andparents, the Superintendent will ordinarily make information aboutemergency closings available to the public through the districtnewsline, district website and the media.
b. The Superintendent will notify the School Committee Chair, who will notify other Committee members.

LEGAL REF:

MGL 71:55C and Acts of 1985c 614 Sec 1
Board of Education 603 CMR 36:00

Region Voted to Approve: 10/12/99
Amherst Voted to Approve:
Pelham Voted to Approve:
Effective Date: 10/12/99