Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness
Robbinsdale Area Schools (Rdale) is dedicated to student, staff and visitor safety in our schools and district facilities. In addition, we work hard to ensure schools and facilities are welcoming spaces for all.
A school emergency can take a number of forms including an environmental event such as a chemical spill or gas leak; a weather emergency such as a tornado warning; or a threat such as an intruder in or near the school.
The district works to develop and evaluate procedures in the event of an emergency, and the nature of an emergency dictates the kind of response school officials will put in place to ensure the safety and well being of students and staff.
Sometimes a situation may result in an emergency response by the district or a school. While every precaution is taken to avoid emergency situations, Rdale constantly reviews and improves its safety, security and emergency plans in order to be prepared in the event of a crisis. Resources exist to help staff and students deal with any crisis that might occur.
Rdale has sound emergency procedures in place, and proper training for employees to implement procedures should a crisis arise. In almost every scenario, the rule of thumb for action on the part of first responders to a crisis in a district facility is as follows:
- Call 9-1-1
- Respond to immediate needs of students and staff
- Notify district administration
- District administration mobilizes district resources to assist emergency responders
Specific procedures with variations to these general procedures are indexed for easy access by staff in an emergency for many crisis scenarios.
A crisis communications plan is in place to ensure accurate information reaches students, staff and families quickly. Information may be provided to the following sources for access by the public:
- District website
- Email to district families and staff
- Posts on district Facebook and Twitter pages
Emergency Procedures Handbook
Oversight of this plan is the responsibility of the school board. Maintenance and implementation of the plan is the responsibility of the superintendent and delegated individuals in coordination with local emergency response agencies. The plan itself is organized into two distinct parts; the “Basic Plan” and a series of job action sheet checklists and hazard specific procedures.
The detailed information in the checklists and annexes makes them sensitive and are not considered to be public documents. Much of the information that is needed to implement a plan like this should be treated as sensitive and thus should be kept internal to district employees and emergency responders. The exact plans, locations, routes, and communication methods may be useful information to potential terrorists or other criminals.
The Basic Plan provides overall concepts and assignment of responsibility, which can be shared with the public. Below is the Basic Plan Section of the Handbook.
The purpose of this plan is to establish the ongoing and continuous safety, security and emergency management roles and responsibilities of Robbinsdale Area Schools ISD #281 using the four phases of emergency management – Mitigation/Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery.
- Mitigation/Prevention addresses what schools can do to reduce or eliminate risk to life and property.
- Preparedness focuses on the process of planning resulting in a rapid, coordinated and effective response to a crisis.
- Response is devoted to the steps to take during a crisis.
- Recovery deals with how to restore the learning and teaching environment after a crisis.
This plan is intended to assist Robbinsdale Area Schools ISD# 281 to act quickly and decisively in an emergency while working to eliminate or minimize the possibility of an event. This plan utilizes the National Incident Management System framework along with hazard specific procedures that enhance the effort to save lives; protect the health and safety of students and employees; and protect school property from naturally occurring hazards, technological failures and human caused events.
Sections of this plan apply to incidents which directly or indirectly affect a single student up to the entire community. Robbinsdale Area Schools ISD# 281 also recognizes that incidents may occur before, during or after school hours and may occur on campus, during school activities, during school transport or off campus in the community.
This plan will serve as a guide to aid leaders through incidents where crucial decisions must be made, often with inadequate information, not enough time and insufficient resources at the onset.
Under the authority of the school board, this plan may be implemented by the superintendent, building principal, building manager or designee when a real or potential threat to health and safety or to building property exists or any potential incident that significantly disrupts day to day operation.
“Emergency” as used in this plan means a set of circumstances that demand immediate action to protect life, preserve public health or essential services, or protect property. In an emergency, existing resources and capabilities are sufficient to cope with the situation.
“Disaster” is defined as any incident which results in multiple human casualties and/or disruption of essential public health services or any incident which requires an increased level of response beyond the routine operating procedures, including increased personnel, equipment, or supply requirements. An emergency or disaster may be proclaimed by local government jurisdictions or the Governor as authorized by state or local statute.
“Crisis” is defined as an incident, or series of incidents, expected or unexpected, that has a significant effect on one or more persons but may not involve the entire school or community. An incident involving violence, or the witnessing of violence, often has a lasting effect on those involved. The psychosocial effects of a crisis may linger for extensive periods of time and may impact the psychosocial functioning of a school or community. Without intervention, such incidents may evolve into large scale incidents. These interventions typically include counseling of those involved using techniques of psychological first aid, critical incident debriefing, the use of “safe rooms” and other mental health-oriented methods.
The following assumptions are the basis of this plan:
- A single site emergency, i.e. fire, gas main breakage, etc, could occur at any time without warning and the employees of the school affected cannot, and should not, wait for direction from local response agencies. Action is required immediately to save lives and protect school property.
- An emergency or disaster, such as severe weather or hazardous material incident, may occur with little or no warning with mass casualties, destruction of property, and damage to the environment.
- Local and state government may be overwhelmed by a disaster. School employees may be with little or no assistance for at least three days or longer after a disaster.
- Government and relief agencies will concentrate limited resources on the most critical and life-threatening problems.
- Assistance from other government and federal agencies will supplement the state and local effort, but such assistance will take some time to request and deploy.
- The first concern of Robbinsdale Area Schools ISD# 281 employees will be for their families’ safety. Employees should take basic steps to prepare their homes ahead of time by stockpiling food and supplies in addition to designating necessary emergency contacts.
It is the policy of Robbinsdale Area Schools ISD# 281 that no guarantee is implied by this plan of a perfect response system. As personnel and resources may be overwhelmed, Robbinsdale Area Schools ISD# 281 can only endeavor to make every reasonable effort to respond based on the situation, resources, and information available at the time.
No set of emergency procedures can cover every possible crisis scenario exactly; therefore this plan is designed to provide general guidance and a series of general guiding principles. School and district employees still must assess each situation and adapt the plan to fit the crisis situation based on information and resources available at the time of the crisis based on information, available resources and the ability of personnel to function under stressful and potentially dangerous conditions at the time of the crisis.
Preparation is the key to effective response in the event of an emergency.
Emergency drills help keep our students and staff prepared to respond quickly, calmly and safely to a number of situations. All schools are required to conduct at least 11 drills annually:
- Five fire evacuation drills
- The first of these drills occur within 10 days of the start of the school year
- Five safety drills (lockdown or lockout)
- One tornado drill
- In addition, elementary school students who ride the bus will also hold one bus evacuation drill a year
Sometimes Robbinsdale Area Schools may be forced to close school or shift to e-learning because of extreme temperatures or significant snow.
When these kinds of severe weather conditions occur, the safety and well-being of students and staff is the district's priority.
It should be noted that Robbinsdale Area Schools typically cannot offer two-hour late starts as a way to mitigate extreme weather conditions due to the issues created for many of our district families.
Gaggle Speak Up is a confidential safety tip line for students. It provides a mechanism for students to share concerns regarding school safety.
How it works:
Students confidentially report concerns through email to email@example.com, or a phone call or text message to 763-272-7461. Gaggle Safety Team professionals monitor the tip line every day around the clock (it's not monitored by district staff in order to maintain confidentiality), and contact district administrators as necessary. If and when there is a report, school staff work collaboratively with families and students to address identified concerns.
Students, staff and families can also find the Speak Up email and phone number to report concerns on the district and school websites. This partnership provides an additional tool to assist in keeping our schools and students safe.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact your student’s principal.