October is here, which means we’re in the middle of School Safety Month! Ensuring every student’s safety is of utmost importance, and it’s something you practice all year long. Most safety training procedures are done in the fall so students and staff alike are well-informed, but some families feel they are left in the dark when it comes to safety at their child’s school. Here’s an example of one district that gives full transparency to families online that you can use as inspiration as you communicate your district’s safety plans.
Providence Public School District (PPSD) in Providence, Rhode Island has outlined their school safety procedures on their website so families can be up-to-date on all safety protocols.
For example, they cite that they are required to administer 15 safety drills annually to practice for instances of fires, active shooters, or other evacuations like natural disasters. While they don’t put those dates on the calendar, they assure families that they will be notified via text message when a safety drill occurs. In the event of an actual emergency, families will be notified within 15 minutes of the lockdown or evacuation. Another message will be sent once the issue has been resolved. Alternatively, for prolonged emergencies, families will receive messages every 30 minutes with updates. In any case, a follow-up letter detailing the events will be sent home within 24 hours of the emergency.
Their website also details what they expect of families during emergencies and drills, such as discouraging them from coming to their child’s school or contacting their child via cell phone or social media, as they could potentially distract the child from being fully engaged in safety procedures.
Informing families on commonly used safety terms is another great feature of this website. They outline the difference between a lockdown and secured building procedure, for example, so that families have some context for situations that may arise. Additionally, the district site details what is done to keep students safe in each situation.
Finally, Providence Public School District urges families to ensure that their contact information is correct in the school system so that they can rest assured that they will be notified of any activity regarding their child’s safety.