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School Safety

Safety is a basic prerequisite of quality education. To ensure a safe environment, your principal — in consultation with the UFT chapter — is required to develop and annually update two documents: a safety plan (routine procedures for ensuring school safety) and a crisis response plan (procedures for major school disasters). These plans should complement each other and, if necessary, be modified during the school year to meet the needs of your school.

Your chapter leader is required to sign off on the school safety plan. If modifications to the safety plan are made during the school year, the chapter leader must sign off on them, too. Your principal is required to hold a meeting of the school safety committee each month. Violations of the safety plan are grievable, and your chapter leader can file the grievance for you.

Updates from the 2023 contract

  • Ventilation and PPE: the DOE must comply with applicable codes for building ventilation. The DOE is now also obligated to have sufficient masks, gloves and hand sanitizer available for all staff. It must review this personal protective equipment periodically to identify any expired items.
  • Drinking Water: the DOE must supply clean drinking water that meets state water standards.
  • Ill Students: the DOE will provide annual guidance to principals about the need to collaborate with school nurses to ensure students who are ill are not returned to class.
  • Pre-K Sinks and Bathrooms: the DOE will issue annual guidance that schools are encouraged to use rooms with or near a bathroom and/or sink on the same floor for 3K and pre-K classes to the extent possible.

If you believe your school is not safe for students or staff, ask your chapter leader to contact the UFT’s Safety and Health Committee. A trained expert can visit your school to assess security and help you develop a safety plan.

Your principal also is required to report all incidents involving staff to the Division of School Safety (718-730-8800) and the Office of Legal Services (212-374-6888). If a crime has been committed, you principal must report it to the police.

Read more about school safety »

See what the contract says about school safety »