The Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) Act
Among other things, the SAVE legislation requires districts, BOCES and county vocational education and extension boards to:
- establish district-wide school safety and building-level school safety teams to develop district-wide and
building-level school safety plans; and
- address crisis intervention, emergency response and management at the district level through
comprehensive, multi-hazard school safety plans.
Under Project SAVE, the Board of Education must develop a district-wide safety plan as well as building-level emergency response plans. These plans are reviewed periodically and updated when necessary.
District-wide school safety plans include policies and procedures for contacting law enforcement in the event of an emergency; contacting parents/guardians in the event of an emergency or early dismissal; the identification of appropriate responses to emergencies; and responding to acts of violence and implied or direct threats of violence by students, faculty, staff or anyone else in the school building.
The building-level plans include policies and procedures for creating and maintaining an emergency response team at the school with clear chain of command; safely evacuating students, faculty, staff and anyone else in the school building during an emergency; ensuring that first responders have access to interior floor plans, school grounds plans and road maps of the immediate surrounding area; and annual review and conduct of drills and other exercises to test components of emergency plans, in coordination with local and county emergency responders and preparedness officials.
Incident Command System (ICS)
New York State Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17(e)(2) requires that district and building-level emergency plans delineate the chain of command during an emergency response in a manner consistent with the Incident Command System (ICS).
The National Incident Command System (ICS) standardizes incident management across all levels of government—federal, state and local:
- Allowing for the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications.
- Enabling a coordinated response among various jurisdictions and agencies, both public and private.
- Establishing common processes for planning and managing resources.
It is typically structured to facilitate activities in five major functional areas: Command, Operations, Planning, Finance/Administration and Logistics. All of the functional areas may or may not be used based on the incident needs.
Current Tracking of Incidents in the School Setting: VADIR Reporting System
The intended goal of VADIR and the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) data reporting is to promote a safe and supportive school climate.
- VADIR is a self reporting tool that gathers data on violent and disruptive incidents that occur on school property or at a school function.
- DASA also requires the reporting of material incidents of discrimination and harassment occurring on school property or at a school function.
- A school’s VADIR data is used to compute the school violence index (SVI). The SVI is used to determine whether a school is designated a Persistently Dangerous (PD) school.
- Once a school is designated as PD it triggers a Department review process and technical assistance designed to address the conditions and issues related to school safety.