July 13, 2020 School Safety Plan Reminder
KEEPING YOU INFORMED…
We are writing to remind you of the legal obligations regarding school safety plans. Please find below an overview of these requirements.
The board of education must make the district-wide safety plan available for public comment at least 30 days prior to its adoption and hold at least one public hearing prior to adopting the plan. The board must adopt the district-wide safety plan and the confidential building-level emergency response plans by September 1 each school year.
Within 30 days after the board has adopted the district-wide safety plan, but by no later than October 1, the district must post the plan on its website and file a copy of the plan with the Commissioner of Education by submitting the URL for that website address to the Education Department. The board must also ensure that a copy of each building-level emergency response plan is filed with the appropriate local law enforcement agency and with the State police within 30 days after their adoption, but by no later than October 1. Building-level emergency response plans must be kept confidential and may not be disclosed in response to a Freedom of Information Law request.
At least once a year, the district-wide school safety team must review the district-wide safety plan and update the plan as needed. Similarly, at least once a year, the building-level emergency response team must review the building-level emergency response plans and update those plans as needed.
Pursuant to amendments to the Education Law that became effective last summer, any school district that employs, contracts with or otherwise retains public or private security personnel must establish a written contract or memorandum of understanding (MOU) with its security personnel. We recommend that a MOU be used for this purpose. The MOU must be consistent with the district’s code of conduct, define the relationship among the district, school personnel, students, visitors, law enforcement and security personnel; define law enforcement and security personnel’s roles, responsibilities and involvement within a school; and delegate school discipline to school administration. The MOU must be developed with stakeholder input (including, but not limited to, parents, students, school administrators, teachers, collective bargaining units, parent and student organizations and community members, as well as probation officers, prosecutors, defense counsel and courts that are familiar with school discipline). The MOU must be incorporated into and published as part of the district-wide safety plan.
If you have any questions regarding updating or adopting your school safety plans, please contact Lauren Schnitzer or one of our other attorneys by calling (631) 694-2300.
THIS MEMORANDUM IS MEANT TO ASSIST IN GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT LAW. IT IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THOSE WITH PARTICULAR QUESTIONS SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL.
© Lamb & Barnosky, LLP 2020