Following the deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, parents may want to review the emergency procedures at Harford County Public Schools.
The 2012-2013 Parent-Student Handbook & Calendar is available online here.
Harford County officials said they were under a "heightened awareness" on Friday, although there was no additional police presence in schools.
Do you know what to do if there's an emergency at your child's school? Tell us in the comments.
The following are some highlights of safety and emergency related information from the handbook:
- The Board of Education is committed to maintaining a safe and secure environment for all students, staff, and other persons. The time, place, and manner by which persons visit the public schools and other public school buildings are subject to such control and regulations as the superintendent and staff deem appropriate in order to protect and secure the safety of all students, staff, and others who participate in the school community.
- Parents are invited to visit their student’s school to observe classes in session and talk with teachers and other members of the school staff. In order to ensure that those persons with whom the parent wishes to talk are available, it is advisable to call the school and make an appointment in advance of the visit. A special effort is made each year to encourage parents and other citizens to visit the schools during American Education Week, which is observed during the month of November.
Rapid Notification System:
- New this year, Harford County Public Schools will launch the Blackboard Connect 5 phone notification system. Parents will now be able to manage contact information and notification preferences by utilizing the Parent Portal. Parent’s can access the new Parent Portal by visiting www.hcps.org.
Student Search and Seizure:
- The principal or assistant principal may make a reasonable search of a student, including the search of a student’s backpack or other belongings, on the school premises if he or she has a reasonable belief that the student is in possession of an item, the possession of which is a criminal offense under the laws of this state or a rule or policy of the Board of Education. This search shall be made in the presence of a third party.
- A principal or assistant principal may make a reasonable search of a student on the school premises or on a school-sponsored trip if the searcher has a reasonable belief that the student has in the student’s possession an item, the possession if which is:• A criminal offense under the laws of this State; or• A violation of:- Any other state law; or- A rule or regulation of the local school Board• A search authorized above shall be made in the presence of a third party. It is a violation of the Harford County Public School regulations for a student to possess either:- Any illegal item; or- Any item used to disrupt or interfere with the school environment.
- Possession or using an object which reasonably could cause physical harm or injury to a person, or an object which is represented to be and a reasonable person would conclude was a dangerous weapon, and for which there is no reasonable or legitimate cause for the student to possess or use on the property of Harford County Public Schools or at a school-sponsored activity. Further, in compliance with the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 and Section 7-305 of the Annotated Code of Maryland, a student who has been determined by the superintendent of schools to have brought a firearm onto school property may be expelled for a minimum of 365 consecutive days. The Superintendent of Schools may specify, on a case-by-case basis, a shorter period of expulsion for a student who has brought a firearm onto school property. Any student expelled under the provisions of the Gun-free Schools Act of 1994 will not be permitted to enroll in the Alternative Education Program. Students served under an IEP or 504 plan may not be subject to this provision.
Planning For Incidents At The Peach Bottom Power Station:
- In the event of an incident at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, plans have been made to increase the safety of public school students at schools within 10 miles of Peach Bottom.
- In the event of an incident at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station which requires the evacuation of a school, students will be transported by bus directly to the HOST school. If such evacuation is ordered, notification will be publicized by radio and television stations, and through the automated telephone system.Parents or authorized persons are to meet their children at the assigned school. Parents are urged not to telephone schools or attempt to make different arrangements. This will only create confusion. Parents are requested not to pick up their children at the HOME school, but to meet their children at the HOST school. Parents or other persons authorized to pick up a student will be required to provide identification at the pick-up point and sign a register prior to the release of a student to their custody.
Inclement Weather Policy:
- Any change from the normal school schedule as a result of inclement weather - snow, ice, heat, etc. - will be communicated through our rapid telephone notification system, email, Twitter, Facebook and on radio and television broadcasts to the public. In addition, closings will be listed on the Harford County Public Schools website at www.hcps.org. Parents have the right not to send their children to school if they feel travel conditions are unsafe. The student will be marked as lawfully absent. The announcement will be made only when schools will be closed or when there are delayed openings or early closings. No telephone calls or media announcements will be made when schools are open as usual. In order to keep school telephone lines open for emergency calls, parents are urged not to call the school concerning the possibility of early closures. This information will be reported as soon as possible using the communication vehicles listed above. The school system website is always kept up-to-date with school/school system delays, closures and early dismissals.