F32: School Crisis Prevention & Response

  • File Code: F32-P

    The Essex Westford School District to maintain a safe, orderly, civil, and positive learning
    environment, and to be prepared, in so far as possible, to prevent and respond to unexpected
    crises quickly and appropriately. While the very unexpected nature of a crisis may make
    preparation difficult, the District believes that staff and students should be ready to respond
    quickly and appropriately to emergency situations.

    Examples of crises include criminal acts, disease epidemics, physical injury or death, presence of
    intruders on school premises, hazardous materials spills, weather-related emergencies, natural
    disasters, or bomb threats.

    Administrative Responsibilities
    To help prevent the occurrence of some individually caused crises, the superintendent (or their
    designee) shall research and share information about educational programs and practices
    designed to create and sustain a safe learning environment. The superintendent (or their
    designee) is directed to create a school crisis prevention and response plan and administrative
    procedures that identify how the students, staff should respond to emergency situations and
    the role that local emergency service providers will play in crisis preparedness and crisis
    management. This will include appropriate and effective training; establishment of school
    safety teams, both within each building and throughout the supervisory union/district;
    consultation and cooperation with community agencies, such as police, fire, emergency
    medical, youth, and health authorities; and publication of emergency procedures for such
    situations as can be imagined. Generally, the principal or his/her designee will organize and
    oversee the planning and operation of the school safety team and will serve as the incident
    response team leader, according to the crisis response procedures. The plan will be reviewed
    and updated annually and routinely practiced during regular drills in accordance with the AOE
    recommendations. Following a major incident, the crisis response team shall debrief and review
    the effectiveness of the crisis response and present a report and any recommendations for the
    future to the superintendent.

    Staff Responsibilities
    The staff shall follow all guidelines outlined in each school’s emergency operation plan when
    practicing routine drills and when responding to actual emergency situations.

    Student Responsibilities
    Students shall follow all guidelines outlined in the crisis response procedures and student
    handbook when practicing routine drills and when responding to actual emergency situations.
    Students suspected of involvement in causing school crises will be held accountable and shall
    be dealt with in accordance with the school’s discipline policy and state/federal law. An incident
    may also be referred to law enforcement for possible criminal charges or for the school to
    pursue civil litigation.