1000 - Governing Principles

1510-4200-7270 School Safety

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. It is the basic safety policy of Pender County Schools that no task is so important that an employee or student must violate a safety rule or risk injury or illness in order to get the job done.

Employees and students are required to comply with all safety rules and are encouraged to participate actively in identifying ways to make our schools and facilities safer places to learn and work. The following safety measures must be implemented at each school.

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 policies 5015, School Volunteers, and 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. 155C-288(d) and G.S. 115C-525 to minimize fire hazards. Administrators are responsible for taking reasonable steps to provide for the safety of their staff, students, and visitors. They must check the workplace for unsafe conditions and take prompt action to eliminate any hazards or to adequately warn of them until they reasonably can be eliminated. Any employee who observes any potential hazards must notify the Principal or the employee’s supervisor immediately. 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 Custodian or other appropriate school official and the Superintendent immediately of unsanitary conditions or repairs needed in order to meet safety standards. The Principal also shall prepare and submit on forms provided a monthly report on conditions of cleanliness and safety to the Superintendent.

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.   School Safety and Discipline Concerns

The Board will develop a system-wide plan designed to provide that each of its schools is safe, secure, and orderly; has a climate of respect; and promotes appropriate personal conduct for all students and school personnel. The plan shall be developed by the Pender County Schools’ Safe Schools Task Force, which shall be comprised of parents, members of the school community, representatives of the greater community, a law enforcement representative, and others. The system-wide plan may be developed in conjunction with other standing committees. The system-wide plan shall address the following:

a.    the student code of conduct and designated consequences for violating the code;

b.    the role and responsibility of all school personnel in maintaining a safe and orderly learning environment;

c.    procedures for identifying and serving the needs of students at risk of academic failure or of engaging in disorderly or disruptive behavior;

d.    mechanisms for assessing the needs of disruptive and disorderly students, providing services to them and removing them from the classroom when necessary;

e.    measurable objectives for improving school safety and order derived from the plan to address school safety and discipline concerns;

f.     professional development clearly aligned to the objectives for improving school safety and order;

g.    plans to work with local law enforcement and court officials regarding school safety;

h.    methods of communicating the plan with the internal and external school community;

i.      a clear and detailed statement of the planned use of federal, state, and local funds allocated for at-risk students, alternative schools, or both; 

j.      methods of dealing with emergencies (riots, assaults with deadly weapons, etc.);

k.    methods of providing a safe physical environment; and

l.      parent involvement in planning for school improvement, safety and alternative education placements.

The system-wide plan will serve as a guide for the school improvement teams as they give consideration to and plan for a safe and orderly environment in their schools. School improvement teams should consider the special conditions at their individual schools and incorporate into their school improvement plans

(1) a clear statement of the services that will be provided to students who are assigned to an alternative school or an alternative learning program and

(2) the appropriate components of the system-wide plan for maintaining safe and orderly schools and for addressing the needs of students who are at risk of academic failure and/or who are disruptive. (See policy 3430, School Improvement Plan).

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

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 impeding 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.

4.   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.

5.   Planning for Emergencies and Conducting Fire Drills and Other Emergency Drills

The Superintendent shall develop system-wide plans and procedures to address emergency situations. As appropriate, the Superintendent or designee shall consult with local law enforcement agencies and emergency responders to plan for and conduct emergency drills. The Superintendent must provide local law enforcement and emergency management agencies with copies of floor plans of all school buildings and site plans showing campus boundaries and access points.

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.

6.   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 reported by a student or their own observations of unusual or suspicious behavior or acts of violence, harassment or bullying. The Principal is required to investigate and act upon any reports of such behavior, including, when appropriate, reporting criminal activities to law enforcement, the State Board and the Superintendent or designee. (See policies 1710/4021/7230, Prohibition Against Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying, 1720/4015/7225, Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Complaint Procedure, and 4335, Criminal Behavior.)

7.   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.

8.   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, -166, -288, -307, -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 (4300 series), School Volunteers (policy 5015), Visitors to 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) ----- 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); 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)
Adopted:
Monday, 10 May 2010
Last Updated:
Monday, 12 January 2015