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.
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.
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.
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.