Box 113, Williamsport, PA 17701 Phone: 570-323-2050    Fax: 570-323-2051

Developing a School Safety Plan

By Dr. Robert Boyd

The development of a school safety plan takes a great deal of time and commitment. The more staff members are involved in its development, the better the plan,. Every staff member, both classified and certified personnel, have vital insights. The more detailed the plan, the longer it takes to complete. Therefore, one of the most challenging aspects of developing a school safety plan is creating and sustaining the motivation to get the job done.

In order to be successful, a school safety plan must be a high priority in the district with the full support and commitment of the School Board, the Superintendent and the principals. Successful plan development requires the full range of the Superintendent’s political skills as school personnel and community leaders become a part of the process. Principals will provide leadership in their buildings when they see the plan will not only help maintain a safe environment for students and staff, but also serve as an effective public relations tool. Both Superintendents and principals also quickly become aware that an effective school safety plan can formalize their relationship with emergency service providers and serve as a staff training tool as the plan becomes a dynamic part of the school’s operation.

Cooperation among various emergency service provider organizations is critical to the success of a school safety plan. A central issue in the development and implementation of a school safety plan is who manages and controls the plan since the answer to that basic question can translate into money and positions for some community agencies. School employees are accustomed to working together to solve problems – that is not always true of departments that must compete for funds and position in the community.

After a school safety plan is formulated, it is only valuable if:

  1. Teachers view it as an integral part of the operation of the school, just like the fire drill procedure.
  2. The plan is practiced
  3. The plan is updated on an annual basis
  4. Local emergency service providers and district personnel take the plan seriously.