Parent Guide to School Safety and Emergency Preparedness

This guide outlines school planning to ensure a safe and secure learning environment for all students and staff.

In the event of an emergency, you can obtain information about your child’s school in the following ways:

  • Call 311
  • Receive calls from the school's automated phone system
  • Read letters sent home with the students

In the event of an emergency, school personnel will work in collaboration with the Central Department of Education administration, New York City Police Department, the New York City Office of Emergency Management, as well as State and Federal agencies as necessary to ensure the safety and security of students and school staff.

What is a School Safety Plan?

At the beginning of each school year, all schools develop a School Safety Plan. The plan outlines the procedures that the school uses every day and in cases of emergency to provide a safe and secure environment in which effective teaching and learning take place. Each plan is approved by the Office of Safety and Youth Development and NYPD. In order to ensure safety for all students and staff, the specific emergency response plans and procedures of the School Safety Plan must remain confidential.

The School Safety Plan addresses the following major areas:

School/Program/Academy Information: This section lists the staff members, hours of operation, chain of command, class schedules, dismissal schedules, extra-curricular activities, and use of special facilities (such as swimming pools).

Special Needs Students: This section identifies students with special mobility needs and ways of addressing those needs.

Medical Emergency Response Information: This section outlines procedures for the dissemination of health information of individual students, implementing health recommendations, and for maintaining and accessing health supplies and trained medical personnel. It also outlines the use and storage of Automatic External Defibrillators (AED).

School Safety Personnel Procedures and Assignments: This section includes visitor control procedures, security scanning (where applicable), and protocols for responding to specific disaster or emergency conditions such as fire, sheltering-in, bomb threat, suspicious packages, hazmat, shooting, and kidnapping.

Who is on the School Safety Plan Committee?

Chancellor’s Regulation A-414 requires that the following individuals are required to serve on a school’s Safety Committee: The principal, the UFT Chapter leader, the PT/PTA president (or designee), the school’s Level III School Safety Agent (or designee), the custodial engineer, the dietician (or designee), the NYPD commanding officer (or designee) of the local precinct, and a student representative.

School Safety Agents

School Safety Agents, who are part of the NYPD, work in conjunction with the school administrators to help maintain order and safety. School Safety Agents have the following responsibilities:

  • Respond to immediate security situations
    • Help school personnel maintain discipline and order Follow visitor control procedures
  • Patrol areas within and immediately surrounding the school building Prevent intruders from entering the school building
  • Report serious incidents to the school administration and School Safety Division

Office of Safety and Youth Development (OSYD)

The goal of the Office of Safety and Youth Development (OSYD) is to make every public school in New York City a safe and secure teaching and learning environment for all students and staff. To achieve this goal, the Office of Safety and Youth Development works closely with the New York City Police Department and its School Safety Division as well as with regional support staff, principals and other school personnel.

Central Office of Safety and Youth Development (OSYD) staff, the Borough Safety Directors (BSDs) assigned to each of the five Boroughs and representatives from District 75 and District 79 address safety and security issues in our schools each day, providing information, guidance and support. Safety Administrators make site visits to schools; serve as a resource for principals; work with school safety teams; provide professional development and training to school personnel; and work with parents on issues relating to student safety. The Office of Safety and Youth Development also conducts comprehensive safety and security assessments of schools on a continuing basis throughout the year to assist schools in implementing best practices that establish and maintain a safe and secure school environment, which is the foundation upon which effective teaching and learning take place.

In addition to its focus on day-to-day safety and security in school buildings and other Department of Education facilities across the city, the Office of Safety and Youth Development provides professional development to build the capacity of teachers and other school personnel to implement prevention and intervention programs that engage students in taking responsibility for and improving their own behavior. Professional development focuses on implementation of comprehensive conflict resolution programs, including peer mediation; programs that reduce and eliminate bullying and other forms of harassment; and instruction and programming that promote respect for multicultural diversity.

All students deserve the opportunity to achieve academic success and to grow and flourish emotionally and socially. Each school must be a safe haven in which students are challenged to meet high standards and are supported in their efforts to do so.

Additional Information and Resources about School Safety

These sites are valuable sources of school safety information developed with parents in mind. The topics covered on these sites include safety in school, safety in the community, and safety on the Internet. Most of the other sites listed also include links to numerous other recommended school safety sites that may be of interest to parents.