Winter 2017 Newsletter

Has your school completed the 2017 EMT?

Schools are required to complete and report an emergency management test annually to the Ohio Department of Education. School administrators and safety plan coordinators can enter their emergency management test or confirm its completion by logging into the safety plan application in SAFE. All schools and districts with emergency management plans that came into compliance before 2017 are required to conduct and report an emergency management test; please note that this includes districts.

Please be aware that your winter break will reduce the amount of time you have to conduct the test.

Newly-made available are two new active aggressor tabletop scenarios to our website, available here. These scenarios are an excellent way to conduct a tabletop emergency management test with your staff.

If you need assistance entering your emergency test information or simply want to confirm your school has completed the test, please contact the P-20 Center by email at SaferSchools@DPS.Ohio.gov or call 614-644-2641. Our staff can also assist with scenario development/selection and answer other questions.

Link to scenarios: https://saferschools.ohio.gov/content/scenarios_other_resources

 

Ohio Administrative Code Has Now Been Updated

After being approved by the state board of education, the Ohio Administrative Code regulating emergency management planning and testing (OAC: 3301-5-01) has been updated and finalized. It can be viewed by clicking here. The new changes will apply to any school plan being evaluated after December 1, 2017.

Changes to the rule include provisions regarding temporary door locking devices, refined language around all-hazards planning and ensuring emergency plans are compliant with the National Incident Management System. Also, please note that the stakeholder signature sheet is now separate from the emergency contacts to make updating emergency contacts easier. 

Remember, the Ohio Administrative Code requires schools to complete and report an emergency management test each calendar year. As specified in 3301-5-01, schools must report in SAFE general information on the scenario setting, the emergency procedures being tested, and strengths and improvement areas your school can use to update and improve the school emergency management plan.

Link to Ohio Administrative Code: https://saferschools.ohio.gov/sites/default/files/page-files/3301-5-01 final filed 110717.pdf

 

Four Strategies to Prevent and Address Bullying Behavior

Promoting a positive school environment and implementing bullying prevention practices will help staff members, students and families create safer Ohio schools.  The following four strategies can help Ohio schools address bullying:

  1. Have an Anti-Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Policy (HIB)

  2. Conduct training to recognize and respond to bullying behavior

  3. Implement an anti-HIB school-wide plan

  4. Utilize Student Action Planning

The first strategy to prevent and address bullying behavior is for every district and school to have an Anti-HIB policy that outlines how schools identify bullying behavior. An active anti-HIB policy ensures all staff members, students and parents know how bullying behavior is defined and addressed in your school.

The second strategy to prevent and address bullying behavior is training school staff to recognize and respond to bullying behavior. The Department requires educators to take the Safety and Violence Prevention training every five years. This training gives school staff members the skills to recognize, reach out and refer potential problems before they escalate. The Safety and Violence Prevention Curriculum reminds school professionals of the important role they play in the early identification of critical issues affecting students. It also attempts to raise school staff members’ awareness of the warning signs for mental, emotional and behavioral problems among students and advises educators on ways to reach out to these students and refer them to appropriate assistance. Through identifying student needs and providing appropriate interventions, educators can ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to succeed at school.

The third strategy to prevent and address bullying behavior is to implement a schoolwide safety plan. Using the PBIS framework and schoolwide safety strategies, all school employees, social workers and mental health partners can create a culture of respect to prevent bullying behavior. Positive school climate and bullying prevention practices are the product of a school’s attention to fostering trust and safety; promoting a supportive academic, disciplinary, and physical environment; and encouraging and maintaining respectful and caring relationships throughout the school. Feeling safe and supported at school is fundamental to success for staff and students.

The fourth strategy to prevent and address bullying behavior is to address the individual needs of students through the development and implementation of a Student Action Plan. Bullying behavior undermines a student’s sense of security and distracts from a student’s ability to be successful in school. A Student Action Plan provides students involved in bullying behavior (either the target or perpetrator) with supports before, during and after the school day, as well as interventions for identified behavior needs.

Promoting a positive school climate and bullying prevention practices this school year will promote healthy relationships, school safety, increased school attendance and greater academic achievement. During building and district meetings administrators and staff should discuss how they can update their anti-bullying policies and practices to make them even more effective. Explore the tools available here, including a nine-minute video, the Department’s Model Anti-Bullying Policy and a guidance document that outlines everyone’s role in addressing student incidents and strategies for developing individual Student Action Plans.

 

New Tool Helps School Administrators Evaluate Local Safety

Have you been interested in conducting a threat assessment for your school or district? Would it be nice to be able to track threat information, risk assessments and improvement plans all in one location? What if you could do it all from the palm of your hand while walking through the halls of your building?

The U.S. Department of Education Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center has released a free new mobile application. The application assists schools with assessing their local security, evaluating threats specific to a school community and building short term and long term safety improvement plans.  Administrators can download the application on Google or Apple devices and use the suite of threat assessment tools to improve existing school emergency plans.  To view more information regarding the application, as well as other REMS programs, please click here.

More information and app download link: https://rems.ed.gov/SITEASSESS.aspx

 

Is Your School Registered for the SaferOH Tip Line?

The SaferOH Tip Line continues to serve school communities by assisting administrators in identifying bully, threats, drug-use and self-harm issues on and around their campuses. 

Now, it is even easier for students, staff and parents to use the service.  The Safer Ohio app now has a SaferOH Tipline feature.  This will allow a user to report tips via voice, text and app.  Download the SaferOhio App from the Google Play or Apple Stores. 

Students and parents have used the anonymous service to report issues they may not have otherwise felt safe discussing, allowing law enforcement to quickly perform wellness checks on at-risk children as well as investigate reports of weapons in school or other threats.  The Ohio Department of Education follows up on reports of bullying with anti-harassment and student action planning guidance for administrators and parents.

Signing up for the SaferOH Tipline allows schools to specify which staff they would like to have receive tips, and order posters and informational cards to share with community members.  Email SaferSchools@DPS.Ohio.gov if you would like to check your school or district’s registration, or click this link to sign up for the tipline.

Tip line signup link: https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Other-Resources/School-Safety/Ohio%E2%80%99s-Safer-Schools-Tip-Line

 

 

Start Talking – Drug Prevention Resources for Schools

The number of reported drug-related incidents in school and drug use by school-aged kids has risen sharply this school year.  We encourage you to take some proactive steps to help curb any drug activity that may be occurring at your school. 

The Start Talking! initiative was created to assist parents, educators, and community members in talking to students and fostering a drug-free community. Start Talking! includes resources schools can use to educate and empower staff into having critical conversations with children about the importance of living a drug-free life. Also included is a consistent, age appropriate, drug abuse/misuse prevention curriculum and helpful guidance for schools to use in maintaining a dialogue with parents in their communities. 

Research shows that children who have parents and trusted adults talk to them about drug abuse/misuse are up to 50% less likely to use drugs. To view the Start Talking! resources available to your community and learn more about the impact you can make, please visit StartTalking.ohio.gov.

Drug use is a public health epidemic and Ohio is not immune. Use of illegal substances and misuse of prescription medications are both to blame for disability and/or early death among our youth. A dramatic increase in prescribing over the past decade has brought these dangerous medications into the homes of the majority of Ohioans. As a result, addiction to prescription pain medications and their chemical lookalike, heroin, is on the rise.

Start Talking link: http://starttalking.ohio.gov/Schools