School Safety: How Does Your School Handle Dismissal

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teacherman1, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Feb 18, 2014

    School Safety: How Does Your School Handle Dismissal?

    I've seen it all- from a "handshake and a prayer" to a sophisticated sign-out system run by parent volunteers in my grand-children's school.

    In Rhode Island we had a particularly heinous occurrence where a "friend" of a child's family (who was on the previous year's release list) attempted to pick up the student. An "on the ball" school staff refused him, but he managed to find a way to get her out of the after-school YMCA program.

    The little girl and both parents were murdered and buried in a shallow grave.

    Here's the full story:http://www.crimelibrary.com/photogallery/murder-by-state.html?curPhoto=39

    *A close family friend was the secretary on duty that day. Another close friend knew the Brendel family.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2014

    Even someone on a child's approved list could snap and cause harm...even in the safest of districts.

    But since you asked:
    K and first grade kids are hand to hand, teacher to parent/approved person dismissed.
    Grades 2-4 either go to supervised bus line, after school care or dismissed for car pick up. There are teachers on paid dismissal duty who supervise the outside pick up areas and make sure everyone has 'their grown up'.

    Dismissal during the school day must be directly to the parent or with confirmed parental consent to an approved person.
     
  4. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Feb 18, 2014

    Not sure what that has to do with it….

    But it should be a major concern for any teacher. This is from a guide to Child Care Law. I would imagine the same laws apply to schools and their staff.
    http://www.childcarelaw.org/docs/releasingchildren.pdf

    WHAT HAPPENS IF I RELEASE A CHILD TO AN UNAUTHORIZED PERSON?
    You could be held responsible for any injury suffered by the child while in the care of the unauthorized person. As the provider, you are legally responsible for all the children in your care and this includes ensuring a child’s safety and well-being by properly releasing the child to someone whom the parent has previously authorized. If you happen to release a child to someone who does not have authorization, you must immediately contact and inform the child’s custodial parent(s) of the situation. If appropriate, also contact the police.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2014

    You shared the story. The school did its due diligence. Our hearts break for the circumstances of some children's lives...but it wasn't the school who failed here....and one could argue that someone intent on taking out an entire family is going to find a way to do it. :(:(:(

    Are some schools remiss in dismissal procedures? Surely. Can kids run out of a school door and run into harm? Absolutely. Can schools do better in regards to student safety? No doubt.

    But even with security cameras, limited access to school spaces, sign in procedures, teachers with emergency technology they wear that ties directly into 911 services, ID tags, door swipe pads (my school has all of these and I'm in what most would consider a safe community), bad things can happen.

    What would be your 'best case scenario' for school security? I ask because my school spent beaucoup on all of the above and more in the past year....
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Feb 18, 2014

    END OF THE DAY DISMISSAL
    At elementary, walkers are released from their class. K students have older siblings come get them or a parent waits out front for the student patrol to walk them to the front. Any adult can walk them home. There is no checking of IDs. Busses are called and the students dismissed as they are called. Older students walk the K students to their bus.

    In MS and HS, everyone is released at the same time. Kids riding the bus go to the appropriate bus. Walkers, walk. Parents also do pickup in the parking lot.

    Theoretically, kids can go home at this time with anyone. No real safety procedures except for making sure they aren't hit by a vehicle on school property.

    PICK-UP DURING SCHOOL HOURS
    At all schools first you must buzz in and show identification. To take a child from school you must be on the approved list and it will be checked. Below HS, any student leaving early must still have an authorized party come in and show ID and sign the child out. In HS a child with a note to be released early will be allowed to leave at the specified time. However, the name on the note excusing the student must be an authorized party. Anyone wanting to remove a HS student early without a note brought into the school by the student in the morning must buzz in, go to the attendance office, and present ID to have the student released. The adult must be on the list.
     
  7. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2014

    To check a student out of school, the adult must be on the child's registration card, and they have to show picture ID. If they are they can check a child out of school.
    My classroom door is to remain locked and closed and I am not to open the door to any adult who does not have a district ID badge or a visitor badge, so a parent can't come to the classroom and take their kid. I can't release a kid to leave my classroom unless the secretaries call for them over the intercom.
    After school we wave goodbye to the kids and wish them luck on getting home. In certain circumstances, exceptions are made, I've had students who have already been the victims of attempted parental abductions, and at the parent's request, I've had to walk the kid to the office and see they are turned over to someone on the approved adult list, all of whom were introduced to me beforehand so I don't have to check the list.
     
  8. mr_post22

    mr_post22 Companion

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    Feb 18, 2014

    I teach at a high school, so as soon as the bell rings, it is every man for himself. If a student gets signed out, the parent must show ID and they must be on the emergency contact card the students returned at the beginning of the year.
     
  9. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Feb 18, 2014

    At the 6-12 level, we don't have a dismissal system. The bell rings and the kids race us to the door.:lol:
     
  10. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Feb 19, 2014

    So are you saying, kellzy, that your school makes no attempt at all to match kids with their parents/uncles/siblings? Our school is in the heart of the inner city and the neighborhood is BAD. So we, at least, tried to get them off safely - but with mixed results.

    Here's how we did it:
    On the first day of school, a "packet " of notices and forms was sent home to the parents. That included the release form which lists all parents/uncles/siblings "authorized" to pick up kids. These forms would trickle back over the next two weeks, so during that time we would have no idea who the kids would be leaving with.

    It was the teacher's responsibility to figure out which kids were "bus kids" and which were school day-care, YMCA, community Center etc. etc. For the most part we had to rely on what these 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders told us - which, as you might guess, was not reliable at all.

    At release time the bus kids would be called down to the cafeteria first and then the day-care kids. With fingers crossed we would send these groups out and hope for the best. I can't say how that was handled, because I never handled that end.

    Now that left roughly half the class who were "pick-ups" and walkers. Again, the teacher is taking their word for it that they know how they're getting home.

    On the first day we had controlled chaos in the school yard where each class stood in an assigned area and the principal held back the parents/uncles/older siblings/next door neighbors. With my arms extended to hold them back, the 15 or so kids in my group would point to a parent, shake my hand and off they'd go.

    Bear in mind that I had no idea what that child's name was or the pick-up person. (I'm horrible with names, and it takes weeks to get them down).

    By the end of the 1st week I'm starting to recognize a few parents and know maybe 75% of the kids names (and some of the forms have returned).

    But by the end of the week, the principal doesn't show up in the schoolyard any more, so instead of the class going to it's assigned spot in the schoolyard there is now a gauntlet of parents hanging right outside the door and they're grabbing kids as soon as you come out. And woe-is-you if you attempt to question a parent or hesitate to release a student. I've told my kids that they must point out their parent/uncle/sibling and shake hands with me so I know they've gone. That works pretty well.

    Now, by the 2nd week the principal decides that the school yard at the main exit is too congested, so three or four classes are instructed to use the side entrance. Again, I've told the kids that they must stay with me as we go out the door and move to the side as a group, where they will (one-at-a-time) point out their PUS and shake hands with me - which again works fairly well until the first stormy day.

    Forget the stormy days....:eek:hmy:

    Picture three or four classes of kids coming down the stairs at the side entrance to the school. Picture about 50-75 soaking wet and ******-off PUS hanging right at the door ready to pounce and pull their kid out of there.

    I'd like to say it was funny - but it wasn't. It was a nightmare.

    After 10 minutes of hell, the left-over kids whose PUS didn't show up had to be accompanied to the office and dropped off there. Now I would go back to my room and begin tutoring the 3 or 4 kids that I've had in-tow with me and hope for the best - that all the kids would get home safely....
     
  11. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Feb 19, 2014

    In our district, all parents must submit NEW release forms for EACH child at the beginning of each school year. These forms list all family and/or friends who are authorized to pick the child up. That list stays in the office.

    Many parents don't like this system, as you might guess, especially if they have more than one child and the names on the list never change from year-to-year. We just remind parents that this is done to help ensure the safety of their child.

    In the after-school program (which I worked at for 3 years), each parent must once again provide a list of authorized people who can pick the child up. If someone show up who is not on the list, they must have a signed note from one of the parents or guardians. Otherwise, we had to call a parent/guardian to confirm this person could pick the child up.

    After school dismissal: Elementary teachers accompany their kids to their respective busses in the afternoon, especially pre-K thru 2nd grade. Parent Pick-up kids are taken to the designated pick-up area. Procedures differ slightly at each school. All elementary schools have a teacher outside who recognizes or verifies the parent, then calls for that child over the PA. Middle school allows students to wait on the sidewalk, but there are still 2 teachers standing with them.

    High school, the kids go to the bus or cars on their own.

    In the district where my boys go (In north GA), the procedures are essentially the same, except for elementary. Rather than verify each parent each day, they give the parents a large number to place in the windshield of their vehicle. That number is assigned to their child at the beginning of the year. The number is printed on color paper, so it is assumed anyone who has the proper number on the right color paper is authorized to pick the student up. In the afternoon, parents form two lines with their cars and one teacher walks down the line, relaying the numbers in the window in to the school. Then those children are released.

    At the MS school level, no numbers are used, but the teachers allow parents to "pull up" 4 cars at a time and release those students.

    For early release at all schools and all levels, an authorized person must sign-in at the office, show ID and wait for the child to be brought to them.

    One additional note; After my ex and I divorced, I had to provide a copy of the custody settlement to the school to prove I did have joint custody and was allowed to pick up the child.

    Since the boys rode the bus to their mom's house, but were Parent Pick-Up when they came to my house, I also provided a calendar to the school (as a courtesy) showing exactly which days the boys would be "bus riders" and which day they would be "Parent Pick-up"
     
  12. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Feb 19, 2014

    Providence schools review procedures after unauthorized relative picks up student and

    I never even heard about this, but I'm certainly not surprised. Notice that the superintendent says that "appropriate action will be taken against the staff member."

    http://www.providencejournal.com/br...t-and-is-then-charged-with-sexual-assault.ece

    November 15, 2013 01:00 AM

    By DONITA NAYLOR

    Journal Staff Writer

    PROVIDENCE — Protocols are being reinforced and a staff member will be disciplined after an Asa Messer Elementary student was released to an unauthorized relative, Supt. Susan Lusi said. The man was then charged with second-degree sexual assault involving the student.

    “This is a nightmare scenario, for any educator and any parent,” Lusi said at a news briefing at the Providence School Department headquarters.

    The student was picked up during the school day for what the relative said was an appointment. The relative had been seen with the family on other occasions, Lusi said, but was not listed on the emergency contact form, “and therefore should not have been allowed to take the child from school grounds.”

    Police spokeswoman Lindsay Lague said Bo Kang, 46, of Providence, was arrested that day, Nov. 6, and was charged with sexual assault.

    “We are immediately taking action to reinforce our protocols with office staff” who release children in all the schools, Lusi said. “We have to follow protocols every time … to the letter.”

    “Appropriate action will be taken” against the staff member, said Lusi, who would not discuss the form of discipline.

    “The bottom line is, we have protocols in place, and this never should have happened,” she said. “All of our schools must be extremely vigilant about who comes into and goes out from our buildings, and how children are released to family members.”

    “My heart goes out particularly to the child and the family but also to the staff involved,” she said.

    A letter was sent Friday, Nov. 8, to Asa Messer parents explaining that a student had been released to an unauthorized person, she said.

    Under the rule, adults picking up a child must come to the front office and show a photo ID. The office staff must check the ID against the student’s emergency contact form to ensure that the individual is allowed to take the child. The person then signs a log.

    “Without this documented parental permission, no adult should leave school grounds with a child,” Lusi said.

    Changes to the emergency contact form must be made in person at the school by the parent or guardian. Changes cannot be made over the phone or sent with a student.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Seems someone failed to follow the school policy and procedures and a child was harmed. It wasn't the school policy it was a staff member at the school that decided not to follow school policy.

    Where does it say they are reviewing their policies?

    It does say they are reinforcing the protocols with the office staff to ensure they follow it every time. (retraining)
     
  14. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Ironically, the release procedure during the day is the easiest one to follow. Office personal are dealing with one parent at a time, face to face, with all the emergency forms in front of them. This absolutely should not have happened. I agree that the office person who handled it should be disciplined.

    Now, the point of my post was that teachers are also supposed to be following the "policy" - but the way the end-of-the-day release is set up, it is absolutely impossible to adhere to it.

    It's a disaster waiting to happen, but it won't be me who's part of it.
     
  15. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Feb 19, 2014

    Now Here's a Well Thought Out System

    Now here's an example of a well thought out system at the elementary school where my grandchildren went to school. This is what I observed on several pick-ups as the "parent".

    First of all, the pick-up list is compiled before the first day of school so the system is up and running on the first day.

    This is a middle-class school in a middle class area, so they have plenty of parent-volunteers to draw from. The teacher's responsibility ends at the cafeteria door when she drops the kids off.

    From there, the kids are seated in lines on the floor by grade by the PV's. A table is set up at the door of the cafeteria and a PV takes your name, checks your ID, finds out your child's name and grade and checks your name against the list. After this is approved, the parent signs the release sheet and the child is pulled from the line on the floor by another PV who knows who is who.. The match-up is done with other adults standing there, so if the child has any reservations they can voice them.

    Only then can the parent exit the cafeteria with the child.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 19, 2014

    How many students are in that school, tm?
    What grade levels?
     
  17. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    K-4 and I have no idea how many students.
    I'm sure I can find out if you think it's relevant
    to our discussion.
     
  18. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Nope. There are about five duty teachers out and about watching students, parents, and looking out for any suspicious things going on. The duty stays out until all the kids from their area are cleared. If there are still kids out when your contract is up (15 minutes after school is dismissed) you just pull them into the school to wait inside for their ride. But beyond a safe adult being available for kids and those adults watching for suspicious behavior, there's really no procedure for kids getting home after school.
     
  19. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    What is feasible in a smaller school may not be feasible time wise in a larger school. 100 kids to find names and match is a much shorter process than doing so for 600 kids when a lot of staff needs to be doing bus duty and other duty for the remaining 400-600 kids. Yes, we have some really big elementary schools in my area.
     
  20. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    It's relevant. My school has 800 kids. That kind of system, while thorough, would just never work for us.

    I work at a K-2 school. Dismissal is all hand to hand. We line up by class inside a designated gate. Parents/guardians are all on the outside of the gate - they cannot come inside. When a student sees their adult, they give the teacher a high-five and make sure the teacher sees and recognizes the adult before going to join the parent. It works well for us.
     
  21. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Feb 20, 2014

    The enrollment is just around 500, YD.

    I'd never suggest that this system would work in every school. First off, we didn't have the Parent Volunteers to make it work.

    At my grand-children's present school, the parents are given a key code for the door and they come in and gather right around the classroom door. The kids stay in the inside until the teacher calls them over and, of course, if she doesn't recognize that person she checks ID and "the list"before she releases the student.

    But that's a very small school in a very affluent area. Just like every child, every school is different....

    Steve

    PS The system you describe sounds like it would work in Providence, but what do you do in bad weather?
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 20, 2014

    I thought it relevant for the same reasons as those above....600+ kids in my building. Limited parking...it would take over an hour to implement such a plan...It would cause similar havoc in most schools in my area. Kids have after school activities, sports, tutoring...families want the ease of a quick and safe pick up so they can get on with their afternoons.
    Parents having a key code and the gathering around a classroom door raises security concerns..my school is pretty much locked up all day (post Newtown measures). Parents can't drop by without a scheduled reason and sign in at the office. They have VERY LIMITED access to classroom areas...pretty much just the lobby and office...to throw the doors open at 3 pm for dismissal would defeat the purpose of these security efforts...

    No plan is perfect. Most plans can be improved.
     
  23. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    So what should a teacher do if s/he knows that the system is inherently unsafe?

    Should s/he keep her mouth shut and wait until something really bad
    happens - and hope it's not one of her students?

    Or should s/he take a chance of getting put on
    administration's sh_ _ list?
     
  24. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Why does it have to be either/ or? Noticing a safety issue and suggesting a solution would be considered helpful by many administrators...sometimes it's a matter of how the message is delivered that influences the reaction to that suggestion....(and yes, totally realize that a few administrators want no input, but I never underestimate the power of finesse).
     
  25. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    It really isn't an either or as you have presented above. There are proper ways to make concerns known without being put on a list.

    Getting an administrator to change policy based on your concern is a DIFFERENT matter.
     
  26. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    I have mentioned this before and I'll say it again. I tried the finesse part. I tried bringing up my concerns at SAAW meetings in regard to the bathroom policy with no results.

    Other teachers were scared to death of this administrator. When she decided she didn't like you (for whatever reason) she found "ways" to get you out - and we all had seen it over and over again.

    Why do you think the union was 100% behind me when the sh_ _ hit the fan?
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 20, 2014

    Completely understand how some become 'the one under the microscope'....could a colleague not under the gun have raised the concern? A parent? Sometimes one needs to find alternate routes...and while it didn't work for you, it does work for many...and maybe some member here who has a concern needs encouragement in good ways to communicate with administrators without raising their ire.

    Im so proud to be a member of a strong one:thumb:, but unions are also obligated to back up teachers even when they don't agree with that teacher's choices. I'm sure that wasn't your case but backup sometimes just ensures admin is following policy and due process (which it seems yours may not have).
     
  28. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I'm in southern California...what is this "weather" you speak of? :lol: No, but really - This is my second full year teaching at this school and I think it's rained maybe four or five times total during dismissal. It has rained on more school days than that - but our rain rarely lasts all day, and we've been lucky. We keep the kids under the overhangs and the parents have umbrellas. That's about as severe as our weather gets.
     
  29. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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