Risk management is ever-changing and evolving in K-12 schools. It is vital to stay on top of emerging issues.
At the 2017 annual PRIMA conference, Ariel Jenkins and Kevin O’Sadnick of Safety National led a conversation on the essential elements of school risk control programs.
School visitor management consists of entrance hardening (add extra set of doors or windows, and visitors have to check in), criteria for visitors (parents, teacher visitors and grandparents), 100% use of photo ID for staff/visitors and use of security cameras.
Violent, Combative and Disruptive Students
De-escalation/assault cycle training should be able to recognize this behavior and early intervention and keep an event from getting out of hand. There need to be clear protocols that consist of restraint training and use of school resource officers. Violence against teachers needs to be reported and documented.
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Active Shooter Event
Effective methods to reduce active shooters events are visitor screening procedures, school/district website content, training for staff (Run,Hide, Fight method), and lockdown procedures (general or emergency lockdown). Post-incident procedures include an emergency communication (is there a procedure in place and specific to each event?), PR/news/press releases and crisis and grief counseling.
Controlling Special Education Risks
- 46% alleged discrimination against students with disabilities
- Claim of not receiving “free appropriate public education”
- Increased complaints related to retained and isolation
Is a special education teacher considered a high-risk job? Yes. There is more emphasis on motor skills learning activities. A student-assisted transfer requires hands-on physical assistance to move a student. The risk of these are biting, hitting and back injuries. The transfers are not normally voluntary. In a school setting, the safe patient handling policy should address the use of mechanical devices to the place of manually lifting and transferring students with disabilities. Training in positive behavior management and de-escalation. For a lift policy, best practices is 30 to 35 pounds maximum lift without equipment and no two-person lifts or transfers without using equipment. If a student cannot safely, reliably and cooperatively stand and pivot for a student-assisted transfer, use adaptive mobility devices.
Social Media and Bullying
There are different measures and different trends we can look at to create student and teacher interaction policies. Make sure to document any instances that occur. There are outside vendors that have training for monitoring social media. There need to be consequences and repercussions for bullying and social media intimidation. These policies and procedures need to be shared with parents.
See also: Space, Aviation Risks and Higher Education
Risk management is ever-changing and evolving in K-12 schools. It is vital to stay informed and stay on top of emerging issues that can affect the safety of the staff and students in your school districts. It is important to create policies and procedures to ensure the safety of all involved.