School safety planning
The UFT's Safety & Health Department is available to assist educators in developing school safety plans. Here is some background information on the requirements of safety planning and a few rules of thumb to keep in mind when creating a safety plan for your school:
Safety Plans are mandated by
- The SAVE Legislation
- The UFT Contract
- The Chancellor’s Regulation A-414 and
- The NYC Discipline Code
Each of these requires that every school form a safety committee to develop a safety plan specific to that school that is updated annually. The UFT contract also sets out a procedure to be followed in the event that disagreement arises over compliance with the school safety plan.
Principals are responsible for ensuring that every school establishes a school safety committee that meets monthly. At the minimum, the members of the committee should include:
- the principal;
- the principals of any other schools, programs and academies operating at the site or their designees;
- the UFT chapter leader;
- the president of the parent association or his/her designee;
- the school safety agent(s) or his/her/their designee(s);
- the NYPD precinct commanding officer or his/her designee; and
- the school's custodial engineer or his/her designee.
All parties listed above must “sign-off” on the school safety plan. Use this school safety committee checklist to help your committee run smoothly.
The safety plan shell is the template for your school’s safety plan and is reviewed, updated and submitted annually. Your school plan should cover both normal operations at your site and emergency procedures. Use this school safety plan checklist to help as you prepare your safety plan. Once a draft of the plan is completed by the Safety Committee, it must be submitted to the superintendent and regional safety administrator (RSA) who, upon approval, will submit the draft to the NYPD precinct commanding officer for final approval. Unsatisfactory safety plans will be returned to the superintendent and RSA for modifications in consultation with the school Safety Committee and then resubmitted to the commanding officer.
Chapter leader and member input
Chapter Leaders should ensure that regular safety meetings take place and should use their Executive Consultation Committee to address safety related violations and issues. Chapter leaders can then address issues at monthly safety meetings and communicate outcomes to members and colleagues with a union memo or a jointly agreed upon safety committee memo.
The contract, laws and regulations are on your side. Five to 10 minutes of every faculty conference should be dedicated to safety issues and/or procedures as outlined in the school safety plan. These include:
- Crisis response
- Student removal procedures
- Intruder alert procedures
- Medical emergency response
- Evacuation procedures
- Bomb scares and
- Fire drills
Safety complaints and violations of the safety plan
There are several steps that chapter leaders should follow, in order, in the event of a safety complaint or violation of the school's safety plan:
- Attempt to informally resolve a safety complaint or safety plan violation with the principal.
- Use the Step I Complaint Form for Violation of School Safety Plan. You should receive a response within 24 hours.
- If the situation remains unresolved, request a written response from the principal and ask your UFT District Representative to file a Step 2 Mediation Request, to be scheduled within 48 hours.
- If you are unsatisfied with the results of the mediation, you may make an appeal for an expedited arbitration process.
Remember to describe in as much detail as possible the violation of the school safety plan in question at every step above.