Crisis Response Resources for California Charter Schools
This Crisis Response Information Bulletin includes operational, Federal, county, and state resources as well as links to sample documents which schools may find useful.
In response to the many questions from charter school leaders and parents across the state about how to prepare for and how to respond to a crisis such as a school shooting, CCSA is providing this Information Bulletin. This Bulletin includes operational, Federal, county, and state resources as well as links to sample documents which schools may find useful. This web page will be updated as more resources become available.
To assist local schools and districts in reviewing and refining plans for responding effectively in a crisis, the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) hosted a Refresher Crisis Response Plan Workshop. The goal of the workshop was to help schools and districts "tune up" their crisis response strategies and interventions to reflect current best practices. The presentation materials and resources can be found here: https://www.scoe.net/News/Pages/2013/january/08crisis_workshop.aspx
Charter schools looking for messaging to students and parents regarding a school shooting can review letters from the Alameda Unified School District, the Mt. Diablo Unified School District Superintendent, the Pleasanton Unified School District Superintendent, and a sample letter from the Los Angeles County Office of Education.
Several California counties and County Offices of Education have developed helpful crisis response resources, including, but not limited to:
Alameda County Network of Care
Contra Costa County Office of Education
Fresno County Behavioral Health Department
Kern County Office of Education
Lake County Office of Education
Los Angeles County Office of Education
Sacramento County Office of Education
San Diego County Office of Education
Santa Clara County Office of Education
Sonoma County Office of Education
Ventura County Office of Education
Charter schools are encouraged to contact their authorizers and counties for more localized resources.
Charter schools are required to address Health and Safety requirements in their petitions under Education Code Section 47605(b)(5)(F). We encourage schools to review and develop more comprehensive policies that include traditional earthquake and fire drills and practices, school evacuation plans, lock down procedures, a communications plan for parents, as well as internal schoolwide alarms or bell systems. CCSA recommends that charter schools check with their insurance carrier to ensure that they have industry-standard policies and procedures in place. Although charter schools are exempt from Education Code 32280, School Safety Plans, which requires traditional public schools to develop a School Safety Plan no later than March 1, annually, the California Department of Education's Compliance Checklist for a Comprehensive School Safety Plan is a useful resource.
The following resources highlight common reactions to trauma and ways parents and teachers can talk with children about crisis events and violence:
- Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth after Mass Violence
- Helping Young Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers
- Helping School Aged Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers
- Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers
- Talking to Children About the Shooting
- Helping Children Cope with Tragedy Related Anxiety
- Helping Children Deal with Tragedies in Response to School Shootings
- Responding to a School Crisis
- Talking to Kids about School Safety
- Talking to Children about Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers and an accompanying infographic
Nationwide, students, teachers, parents, and communities are preparing to "march for their lives" on March 24, in response to the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Other marches and rallies scheduled include a March 14 school walkout organized by the Women's March, and the April 20 National High School Walkout on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shootings. Additional demonstrations could take place in the months to come, to rally for increased gun controls to ensure student safety.
It is important for charter schools to remember the following:
- Schools who wish to support the participation of students and families in marches and rallies, should encourage students to first check into the charter school for a portion of the instructional day in order to claim ADA.
- Alternatively, charter schools could consider adjusting their instructional calendar to exclude the dates of the scheduled marches and rallies to avoid a reduction in ADA.
Other CDE resources include:
Active Shooter Information and resources for dealing with active shooters Bio-terrorism Information and resources for dealing with bio-terrorism threats Coping with Tragedy Helpful resources to assist schools in helping students to cope with tragic events Crisis Planning and Response Helpful resources to assist school districts with the ongoing concerns of the mental health aspects of crisis planning and crisis response. Crisis Response Box A guide to help every school assemble the tools and resources needed for a critical incident response.
The California School Board Association's School Safety web page references links to the guidebook, "Safe Schools: Strategies for Governing Boards to Ensure Student Success." This guidebook includes resources that can assist governance teams as they establish the organizational structures necessary to enhance school safety, including:
- Sample questions to facilitate a board's discussion on school safety
- Sample board policies and administrative regulations
- Tips on building a comprehensive school safety plan and a sample plan
- Tips and best practices for communicating with the public during a crisis
- Measures that schools can take to improve security of school sites
The School Violence section of the Department of Homeland Security has the following resources available:
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