Keeping students and staff safe is a top priority for educational institutions and administrators, though in today’s world, that task has become more complicated.

Advancing technology, changing laws, and outside dangers make it more challenging for schools to plan for emergencies and keep their students protected. Whether it’s a fire, a tornado, an active shooter, or a pandemic, you need a plan in place to respond appropriately. Creating a comprehensive safety plan for your school can help mitigate these dangers and prepare everyone on campus for proper emergency response if the worst should happen.

A school safety plan serves as a comprehensive roadmap to minimize potential risks and respond to emergencies. In this blog, we will explore the importance of a school safety plan, determine who is responsible for creating it, explain how to develop a plan, list the essential components to include, and review best practices for a successful implementation.

Whether you are a facilities manager or school administrator, join us as we delve into the crucial aspects of crafting a reliable school safety plan.

What is a school safety plan?

A school safety plan is a strategic document that outlines procedures, policies, and guidelines to ensure the safety, security, and well-being of students, educators, and staff.

It encompasses a range of potential hazards, emergencies, and situations, addressing preventive measures, response protocols, and recovery strategies. From natural disasters to acts of aggression, a comprehensive school safety plan is designed to minimize risks, maintain order, and protect the entire school community.

Who creates a safety plan?

Creating a school safety plan requires collaboration and coordination among various vital players, like school administrators, facilities managers, and district officials. It’s also essential to involve key stakeholders throughout the process. Teachers, staff members, local law enforcement, emergency responders, and community partners have invaluable insights into their areas of expertise. They should be trusted to help create a comprehensive, realistic plan that is tailored to the specific needs of your school or district. 

An illustration shows students, teachers, school maintenance workers and other staff gather to discuss their school safety plan.

Best practices: How do you make a school safety plan?

Developing a school safety plan follows a systematic process. Here are the key steps involved:

  • Establish a timeline: Determine when the plan will be created or updated. Regular review and updates are essential to address evolving threats and ensure continued effectiveness.
  • Identify relevant data: Gather and analyze data on school crime, incidents, and vulnerabilities. Review past safety incidents, conduct surveys, and consult local law enforcement for insight into potential risks.
  • Consult experts: Collaborate with security consultants, law enforcement agencies, and emergency management professionals. Their expertise and guidance will help identify potential threats, assess vulnerabilities, and develop effective strategies.
  • Prepare emergency response procedures: Define clear procedures for different types of emergencies, including lockdowns, evacuations, medical emergencies, and natural disasters. Assign roles and responsibilities to staff members and develop communication protocols.
  • Establish policies and protocols: Include policies and procedures for reporting child abuse, maintaining a safe and orderly environment, addressing disciplinary issues, and preventing discrimination and harassment. Ensure compliance with local, state, and federal laws.
  • Plan entry and exit points: Develop procedures for safe entry and exit, including visitor management protocols, student release procedures, and bussing or transportation plans.
  • Conduct emergency drills: Provide regular training sessions for staff members on emergency protocols and response procedures. Conduct drills and exercises to practice response actions and evaluate the effectiveness of the plan.

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Components of a school safety plan

A comprehensive school safety plan should encompass various components to effectively address potential risks and ensure a secure environment. Here are the essential elements to include:

Assessment of school crime

Conduct a thorough assessment of school crime committed on campuses and at school-related functions. Analyze data on incidents, identify trends, and develop strategies to prevent and address such issues.

Child abuse reporting procedures

Establish clear protocols for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect, in accordance with legal requirements. Provide guidelines for staff members to recognize and report any signs of abuse.

Disaster procedures

Outline specific procedures for responding to various emergencies, such as fires, natural disasters, severe weather, and hazardous material incidents. For example, you might also include a fire safety plan within your school’s larger plan. Include evacuation routes, shelter-in-place guidelines, the use of door security devices, communication protocols, and coordination with local emergency services.

Suspension and expulsion policies

Define disciplinary actions, criteria, and due process procedures for suspensions and expulsions. Ensure consistency, fairness, and adherence to legal guidelines.

Procedures to notify teachers of dangerous pupils

Implement protocols for timely and effective communication between school administrators and teachers regarding potentially dangerous students. This ensures that teachers are informed and can take appropriate precautions.

Discrimination and harassment policies

Develop policies that promote a safe and inclusive environment, free from discrimination and harassment. Clearly define prohibited behaviors, reporting procedures, and consequences for violators.

School-wide dress code policies

Establish guidelines for appropriate student attire, ensuring a respectful and conducive learning environment. Clearly communicate dress code expectations to students, parents, and staff.

Procedures for safe exit

Design procedures that facilitate safe entry and exit from the school premises. Implement visitor management protocols, student release procedures, and traffic management plans.

Policies to maintain a safe and orderly environment

Enact policies that contribute to a safe and orderly school environment. This may include conflict resolution strategies, behavioral intervention programs, and proactive community-building initiatives.

Rules and procedures on school discipline

Clearly communicate expectations for student behavior and disciplinary measures. Define consistent procedures for addressing disciplinary issues, ensuring fairness and accountability.

Hate crime reporting procedures

Establish protocols for reporting and addressing hate crimes or bias-related incidents. Encourage open communication, support affected individuals, and foster a culture of tolerance and acceptance.

Consider keeping your safety plan private

Once you and your team have created a school safety plan you’re happy with, it’s a good idea to keep plans within your organization. 

Run mandatory drills and keep students and staff informed of the details of your emergency plans, of course, but keep private information just that—private. Sharing your safety plan with those outside your organization can jeopardize the integrity of your school’s safety and reveal important details to those with bad intentions. 

For example, someone could learn the layout of your school, emergency response times, alarm system trigger locations, evacuation protocols, and other key information that could be used against your staff and students. Quite the opposite of the original intent of the safety plan. 

Instead, keep your safety plan under lock and key, and only share pertinent information with staff and students. Be clear that your school’s emergency plans should not be shared with anyone outside of the school. 

Let FMX help with your school safety plan

An effective school facilities management system can be a key component in the creation and implementation of your school or district’s safety plan. FMX’s facilities management software can help your school schedule safety planning tasks, track safety-related work requests, and keep a record of all associated tasks.

FMX school facilities management software shows school fire safety checklists on desktop and mobile applications.

FMX school facilities management software can be used to do the following:

  • Create work orders for equipment maintenance tasks to satisfy safety requirements
  • Schedule requests for recurring emergency drills
  • Oversee digital security features with remote door-locking features through our Avigilon and RS2 integrations
  • Locate essential emergency equipment, medical supplies, and more with interactive mapping 
  • Build configurable checklists to track each aspect of your safety plan from start to finish

Check out our school life safety checklist!

Trust the details of your school’s safety plan to our user-friendly software solution so you can rest easy knowing the policies that protect your students and staff are managed and secure. 

Ready to schedule a demo? Reach out to our team today to discover how FMX’s facilities management software for schools can benefit your district and encourage school security.

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