Everyone in the Bensalem Township School District recognizes the importance of having school safety procedures in all our schools. In order to create a climate that fosters learning and growth, we must be able to create a safe and supportive atmosphere in each of the district's nine school buildings. The district's Safe Schools Plan, a district wide emergency response plan, is continually updated to provide ongoing strategies to deal with situations that could impact our students and school community.
The Administration and School Board is committed to providing our students with safe schools and a safe learning environment. In the months and weeks ahead, all of our safety plans will be again reviewed by our Board, principals, local law enforcement officials, and other safety professionals. Using their recommendations, modifications and additions to this plan will be made. In this analysis, we will also be examining physical plant issues such as the entrance, egress and safety mechanisms in place in all nine schools. We are committed to having the safest schools possible.
While the entirety of the district's Safe Schools plan will not be released to the public, included in those measures are the following underpinnings.
- Secure entrance procedures are in place forcing visitors to directly contact office staff members prior to entering the building.
- Limited school accessibility to visitors, meaning that all exterior doors are locked throughout the day.
- All visitors are required to check into the office immediately upon arrival. Visitors are issued a temporary pass which must be worn while in the building. This pass must be returned to the office when the visitor signs out.
- School Resource Officers are in place through a partnership with the Bensalem Township Police. All building principals met with Bensalem Township Police representatives to review crisis management and disaster protocols. The following crisis scenarios were discussed as a part of that training: medical, large scale disturbance, threats and active threats.
- The district consults with state and local officials concerning emergency procedures.
- Drills are conducted on a regular basis in all schools coordinated by the principal. These drills include:
- Emergency evacuation and lockdown procedures practiced by staff and students at regular intervals.
- Bus evacuation drills.
- Fire drills.
- Evacuation plans are in place to transport students to off-site centers.
- Administrative and staff drills using case scenarios.
Members of the school community review emergency procedures on a regular basis and update plans to reflect current staffing and facility needs.
Drills are conducted and are immediately evaluated. Professional development is offered in several crisis management areas. In the Olweus Bullying Program, for example, teachers are taught to recognize bullying behaviors, to understand the impact of bullying on students, the importance of bullying behavior prevention and intervention and learn key strategies to address bullying.