BOE Seeks Comment on Policy Addressing Student Well-Being and School Safety
In spring 2017, MCPS launched a comprehensive review of protocols, practices and infrastructure related to the critical imperative of maintaining safe, orderly learning environments for all students. Findings and recommendations were reported to the Montgomery County Board of Education in the summer of 2017 and spring of 2018. The 2018 report detailed that, while cameras, other technology and security staff are critical for school safety, it is equally important to foster a culture and climate that incorporates safety into daily operations at every school. Research shows that safe schools are built on a foundation consistent with MCPS’ core values of equity, relationships and respect that ensures:
- all students have positive relationships with at least one responsible adult,
- all students, faculty and staff are treated with respect,
- the diversity of MCPS school communities is fully embraced, and
- all students’ families and the broader community are fully engaged in supporting student success.
The new policy also ties together the district’s policy on Wellness: Physical and Nutritional Health, and its work on the Be Well 365: The Framework to Support the Physical, Social, and Psychological Well-being of All Students initiative. Specifically, draft Policy COA: Student Well-Being and School Safety, addresses safety from the perspective of:
- promoting a positive school climate,
- accountability for all,
- behavioral threat assessment,
- facilities, security staff and technology,
- collaboration with county partners including health and law enforcement agencies, and
- emergency planning and preparedness.
Draft Policy COA also incorporates key requirements set forth in the Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018 regarding behavioral threat assessment teams, and the identification of a mental health coordinator and a school safety coordinator to serve as a liaison between local law enforcement agencies and the Maryland Center for School Safety. Draft Policy COA also adopts the tenets of the Maryland Center for School Safety’s Maryland’s Model Policy for Behavior Threat Assessment, including authorization for MCPS to establish procedures for the assessment of and intervention with students, staff, parents/guardians, contractors and non-affiliated individuals on school property whose behavior poses a threat to the safety of school staff or students.
Finally, the policy incorporates language from the 10 principles to protect all students’ safety, privacy, and right to an equal education developed by 40 nationally recognized education, privacy, disability rights and civil rights organizations. The 10 principles focus on keeping students safe while respecting their dignity and encouraging their individual growth.
Submit public comments by Wednesday, June 5. Comment here