School Board Policy 806 -
Crisis Management Policy 

 

Adopted: may 12, 2008  REVISED: april 9, 2018  

I. Purpose

The purpose of this Crisis Management Policy is to act as a guide for school district and building administrators, school employees, students, school board members, and community members as to how to address a wide range of potential crisis situations in the school district. This policy will provide guidance to each school building in drafting crisis management plans to coordinate protective actions prior to, during, and after any type of emergency or potential crisis situation in the school district. Pursuant to this policy, tailored crisis management plans will be developed for each school building in the school district and sections or procedures may be added or deleted in those crisis management plans based on building needs.

The school district will, to the extent possible, engage in ongoing emergency planning within the school district and with first responders and other relevant community organizations. The school district will ensure that relevant first responders in the community have access to the district’s crisis management plan, heretofore referred to a the “Emergency Response Plan,” and will provide training to school district staff to enable them to act appropriately in the event of a crisis.

II. General Information 

A. The Policy and Plans

The school district’s Crisis Management Policy and Emergency Response Plan has been created in consultation with local community response agencies and other appropriate individuals and groups likely to be involved in assisting with a school emergency. It is designed so that each building administrator can tailor a crisis management plan to meet that building’s specific situation and needs.

The school district administration shall present the district’s Emergency Response Plan to the school board for review and approval. This district Emergency Response Plan and resultant building-specific crisis management plans will include general crisis procedures and crisis-specific procedures. Upon approval by the school board, the Emergency Response Plan and the Crisis Management Policy, will be maintained on an annual basis.

B. Elements of the District Crisis Management Plan

1. General Crisis Procedures. The district’s Emergency Response Plan includes general crisis procedures for securing the building, classroom evacuation, building evacuation, campus evacuation, and sheltering. It designates the individual(s) who will determine when these actions will be taken. These district-wide procedures may be modified by building administrators when creating the building-specific crisis management plans. A communication system will be in place to enable the designated individual(s) to be contacted at all times in the event of a potential crisis, setting forth the method to contact the designated individual(s), the provision of designee(s) when the contact person is unavailable, and the method to convey contact information to the appropriate staff persons. A secondary method of communication should be included in the plan for use when the primary method of communication is inoperable. Finally, all crisis procedures will address specific procedures for children with special needs such as physical, sensory, motor, developmental, and mental health challenges.

a. Lockdown Procedures. Lockdown procedures will be used in situations where harm may result to persons inside the school building, such as a shooting, hostage incident, intruder, trespassing, disturbance, or at the discretion of the building administrator or designee. Each building administrator will submit lock-down procedures for their building as part of their building specific crisis management plan.

[Note: State law requires a minimum of five school lock-down drills each school year. See Minn. Stat. §121A.035.]

b. Evacuation Procedures. Evacuations of classrooms and buildings shall be implemented at the discretion of the building administrator or designee. Each building’s crisis management plan will include procedures for transporting students and staff a safe distance from harm to a designated safe area until released by the building administrator or designee. Safe areas may change based upon the specific emergency situation. Building plans should include specific evacuation procedures for individuals with special needs including those with limited mobility (wheelchairs, braces, crutches, etc.), visual impairments, hearing impairments, and other sensory, developmental, or mental health needs. The evacuation procedures should also address transporting necessary medications for students that take medications during the school day.

[Note: State law requires a minimum of five school fire drills, consistent with Minn. Stat. § 299F.30, and one school tornado drill each school year. See Minn. Stat. § 121A.035]

c. Sheltering Procedures. Sheltering provides refuge for students, staff, and visitors within the school building during an emergency. Shelters are safe areas that maximize the safety of inhabitants. Safe areas may change depending on the specific emergency. Each building administrator will submit sheltering procedures as part of their building specific crisis management plan.

2. Crisis-Specific Procedures. The Emergency Response Plan includes crisis-specific procedures for potential crisis situations that may occur during the school day or at school-sponsored events and functions. These district-wide procedures are designed to enable building administrators to tailor response procedures when creating building-specific crisis management plans.

3. School Emergency Response Teams

a. Composition. The building administrator in each school building will select a Building Emergency Response Team (BERT) trained to respond in an emergency. All team members will receive ongoing training to carry out the building’s crisis management plans and will have knowledge of procedures, evacuation routes, and safe areas. For the purposes of student safety and accountability, to the extent possible, school emergency response team members will not have direct responsibility for the supervision of students. Team members must be willing to assist in any crisis situation as deemed necessary by the building administrator. Each building will maintain a current list of school emergency response team members and update it annually. A copy of the list will be kept on file in the school district office.

b. Leaders. The building administrator or designee serves as the leader of the crisis response team and the principal contact for emergency response officials. When they are present, emergency response agents may elect to take command and control of the situation. It is critical in this situation that school officials assume a resource role and are available to the emergency response personnel.

III. Preparation Before an Emergency 

A. Communication

1. District Employees. Teachers generally have the most direct contact with students on a day-to-day basis. As a result, they must be aware of their role in responding to crisis situations. This also applies to non-teaching school personnel who have direct contact with students. All staff shall be aware of the school district Crisis Management Policy and Emergency Response Plan as well as their own building’s crisis management plan. Employees will receive a copy of the relevant building-specific crisis management plans and shall receive periodic training on plan implementation.

2. Students and Parents. Students and parents shall be made aware of the school district’s Crisis Management Policy and relevant tailored crisis management plans for each school building. Each school district’s building-specific Crisis Management Plan shall set forth how students and parents are made aware of the district and school-specific plans. Students shall participate in a required number of drills and practice sessions throughout the school year.

B. Planning and Preparing for Fire

1. Designate a safe area at least 50 feet away from the building to enable students and staff to evacuate. The safe area should not interfere with emergency responders or responding vehicles and should not be in an area where evacuated persons are exposed to any products of combustion. (Depending on the wind direction, where the building on fire is located, the direction from which the fire is arriving, and the location of fire equipment, the distance may need to bb extended.)

2. Each building’s facility diagram and site plan shall be available in appropriate areas of the building and shall identify the most direct evacuation routes to the designated safe area both inside and outside of the building.

3. Teachers and staff will receive training on the location of the primary emergency evacuation routes and alternate routes from various points in the building. During fire drills, students and staff will practice evacuations using primary evacuation routes and alternate routes.

4. Certain employees, such as those who work in hazardous areas in the building, will receive training on the locations and proper use of fire extinguishers and protective clothing and equipment.

5. Fire drills will be conducted periodically without warning at various times of the day and under different circumstances, e.g. lunchtime, recess, and during assemblies. State law requires a minimum of five drills each school year, consistent with Minn. $299F.30. See Minn. Stat. § 299F.30. See Minn. Stat. §121A.035.

6. A record of fire drills conducted at the building will be maintained in the building administrator’s office.

7. The school district will have prearranged sites for emergency sheltering and transportation as needed.

8. The school district will determine which staff will remain in the building to perform essential functions if safe to do so (e.g., switchboard, building engineer, etc.). The school district also will designate an administrator or his or her designee to meet local fire or law enforcement agents upon their arrival.

C. Facility Diagrams and Site Plans

All school buildings will have a facility diagram and site plan that includes the location of primary and secondary evacuation routes, exits, designated safe areas inside and outside of the building, and the location of the fire alarm control panel, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, hoses, water spigots, and utility shut-offs. All facility diagrams and site plans will be regularly updated and whenever a major change is made to a building. Facility diagrams and site plans will be available in the office of the building administrator and in appropriate areas and will be kept on file in the school district office. Facility diagrams and site plans will be provided to first responders, such as fire and law enforcement personnel.

D. Emergency Telephone Numbers

Each building will maintain a current list of emergency telephone numbers and the names and addresses of local, county and state personnel who may be involved in a crisis situation. The list will include telephone numbers for local police, fire, ambulance, hospital, the Poison Control Center, county and state emergency management agencies, local public works departments, local utility companies, the public health nurse, mental health/suicide hotlines, and the county welfare agency. A copy of this list will be kept on file in the school district office and will be updated annually.

School district plans will set forth a process to internally communicate an emergency, using telephones in classrooms, intercom systems, or two-way radios, as well as the procedure to enable staff to rapidly convey emergency information to a building designee. Each plan will identify a primary and secondary method of communication for both internal and external use. It is recommended that the plan include several methods of communication because computers, intercoms, telephone, and cell phones may not be operational or may be dangerous to use during an emergency.

E. Warning Systems

The school district shall maintain a warning system designed to inform students, staff and visitors of a crisis or emergency. This system shall be maintained on a regular basis under the maintenance plan for all school district buildings.

It shall be the responsibility of the building administrator to inform students and employees of the warning system and the means by which the system is used to identify the specific crisis or emergency involved. The building administrator shall be responsible for informing students and employees of the warning system and the means by which the system is used to identify a specific crisis or emergency situation. Each school’s building-specific crisis management plan will include the method and frequency of dissemination of the warning system information to students and employees.

F. Early School Closure Procedures

The superintendent will make decisions about closing a school or any school district building as early in the day as possible. The early school closure procedures will set forth criteria for early school closure (e.g. weather related, utility failure, or a crisis situation), and will specify how closure decisions will be communicated to staff, students, families and the school community (designated broadcast media, local authorities, e-mail, parent notification systems, district or school web sites), and will discuss the factors to be considered in closing or reopening a school or building.

Early school closure procedures also will include a reminder to parents and guardians to listen to designated local radio and TV stations for school closing announcements, where possible.

G. Media Procedures

The superintendent has the authority and discretion to notify parents or guardians and the school community in the event of a crisis or early school closure. The superintendent will designate a spokesperson who will notify the media in the event of a crisis or early school closure. The spokesperson shall receive training to ensure that the district is in compliance with federal and state law relative to the release of private data when conveying information to the media.

H. Behavioral Health Crisis Intervention Procedures

Short-term behavioral health crisis intervention procedures will set forth the procedure for initiating behavioral health crisis intervention plans. The procedures will utilize available resources including the school psychologist, counselor, community behavioral health crisis intervention, or others in the community. Counseling procedures will be used whenever the superintendent or the building administrator determines it to be necessary, such as after an assault, a hostage situation, shooting, or suicide. The behavioral health crisis intervention procedures shall include the following steps.

1. Administrator will meet with relevant persons, including school psychologists and counselors, to determine the level of intervention needed for students and staff.

2. Designate specific rooms as private counseling areas.

3. Escort siblings and class friends of any victim as well as others in need of emotional support to the counseling areas.

4. Prohibit media from interviewing or questioning students or staff.

5. Provide follow-up services to student and staff who receive counseling.

6. Resume normal school routines as soon as possible.

IV. Crisis Areas Covered by the District Emergency Response Plan

The district Emergency Response Plan provides procedures for addressing the following crises, but not limited to:

A. Abduction or Kidnapping

B. Assault

C. Bomb Threat

D. Burglary/Vandalism

E. Civil Disturbance/Demonstration

F. Community Emergency/Warning

G. Dangerous Weapons

H. Death of a Student/Staff

I. Fire Emergency

J. Hazardous Materials

K. Hostage Situation

L. Intruder

M. Medical Emergency

N. Shooting

O. Suicide Student/Staff

P. Terrorist Threat

Q. Utility Emergency

R. Vehicle/Bus Accident

S. Weather Emergency

Building-specific crisis management plans will include such procedures and any other appropriate procedures.

V. Miscellaneous Procedures 

A. Chemical Accidents

Procedures for reporting chemical accidents shall be posted at key locations such as chemistry labs, art rooms, swimming pool areas, and janitorial closets.

B. Visitors

The school district shall implement procedures that regulate visitors and mandate visitor sign-in in school buildings. See District Policy 903 (Visitors to School District Buildings and Sites).

The school district shall implement procedures to minimize outside entry into school buildings except at designated check-in points and assure that all doors are locked prior to and after regular building hours.

Legal References: 
42 U.S.C. § 5121 et seq. (Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance)
Minn. Stat. Ch. 12 (Emergency Management)
Minn. Stat. § 121A.06 (Reports of Dangerous Weapon Incidents in School Zones)
Minn. Stat. § 121A.035 (Crisis Management Policy)
Minn. Stat. § 299F.30 (Fire Drill in School)
Minn. Stat. § 299F.391 (Health Care, Education, or Lodging Facility)
Minn. Stat. § 609.605, Subd. 4 (Trespasses on School Property) Minn. Rules Part 7510 (Fire Safety)
Title IX, Part E, Subpart 2, Section 9532 Every Student Succeeds Act)
20 U.S.C. § 7912 (Unsafe School Choice Option)
40 U.S.C. § 5121 et seq.v (Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance)

Cross References: 
WBLASB Policy 407 (Employee Right to Know – Exposure to Hazardous Substances)
WBLASB Policy 413 (Harassment and Violence)
WBLASB Policy 501 (School Weapons Policy)
WBLASB Policy 506 (Student Discipline)
WBLASB Policy 532 (Use of Peace Officers and Crisis Teams to Remove Students with IEPs from School Grounds)
WBLASB Policy 903 (Visitors to School District Buildings and Sites)