Olympia – State Attorney General Christine Gregoire and Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Terry Bergeson have released a new tool to assist local school safety efforts.
Paper and compact disc copies of "It’s Our School—Some Practical Tools for School Safety" were distributed last week to school districts statewide. In addition, CDs were sent to principals of all of Washington’s K-12 public and private schools. School board presidents statewide received a letter informing them that the information is also available through the Internet for copies and widespread distribution at /ourschool/.
The offices of the Attorney General and SPI began working together early this summer to research, compile and create information on:
- Developing school violence prevention and crisis response plans that effectively meet unique local needs and circumstances;
- Sharing of student background information between law enforcement and school authorities;
- Preventing harassment and fostering mutual respect and acceptance among diverse student populations;
- Creating a shared sense of responsibility for maintaining order, reducing the risk of violence, and making sure troubled children get the help they need; and
- Defining a school’s legal rights regarding searches, seizure of property, and disciplinary actions.
"Stopping violence before it begins is the best strategy. That is the purpose of this guide," said Gregoire.
"It is also important this information be readily available to concerned people across the state - education professionals, parents, students, emergency managers, law enforcement officials, and other community members - to help all of them actively participate in creating safe learning environments for our youth," added Bergeson.
Gregoire and Bergeson recognize there is no single blueprint or policy for keeping schools safe. But this guidebook gives Washington’s schools one of the most comprehensive reference tools available to help them tailor their plans at the local level.
Link to the electronic version of the guide, "It’s Our School—Some Practical Tools for School Safety," or obtain an electronic copy of this release by visiting the AG’s website at www.atg.wa.gov, or the OSPI’s website at www.k12.wa.us/.