Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) Act
Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-(801-814) or the SAVE Act (Schools Against Violence in Education) establishes specific and consistent requirements for local education agencies in providing a safe school environment. The act also establishes a state-level safety team to provide guidance to school districts in their efforts to address, plan, and implement a comprehensive school safety planning strategy. Below is the product of that effort. Please find the SAVE Act Compliance Instrument/ Self-Assessment, District and School-Level Emergency Coordinators Spreadsheet, Compliance Package Coversheet with Assurances Statement, and Detailed Reporting Instructions to help ensure that your district is complying with all the requirements set forth. Additionally, a School-Level Evidence Inventory has been included to gather information for the district's inventory assessment found within the instrument. The SAVE Act Compliance Instrument provides a framework for emergency planning aimed at bringing together all available resources and stakeholders to provide for the safety of all of Tennessee’s students.
To begin developing or revising your existing plans review Guide for Developing High Quality School Emergency Operations Plans. Also find additional planning resources below that will help you comply with each of the planning requirements set forth.
Timeline for Submitting Compliance Documentation
Districts must submit all documents listed below by October 1 of each year to show compliance with the SAVE Act requirements set forth. For the 2014-2015 school year, all LEAs must submit, electronically through ePlan, a district Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) to the Department of Education.
Compliance documents are available on ePlan under LEA Document Library.
Example Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs)
(Formerly Emergency Response Plans - ERPs)
Each school facility and school district are required to have a comprehensive emergency operations plan developed in collaboration with local emergency response agencies. These plans should be based on natural, technological, and human-caused hazards identified within the community. School district and school facility EOP templates are available. For questions or assistance with the template, contact Brenna Robinson at Brenna.Robinson2@tn.gov.
School district EOPs are submitted to the TN School Safety Center on a five-year rotation or when any major change has been made to the document. EOPs must be uploaded to ePlan or shared with TN School Safety Center no later than November 1 of submittal year. The EOP submittal calendar can be found here.
Save Act General Requirements
- Standard 1.0: Emergency Management
A district and school level emergency response plan (ERP) has been developed in conjunction with local emergency response agencies. The ERP is fluid and integrates a multi-hazard approach to planning, involvement from appropriate stakeholders and establishes an incident command structure synchronized with both district and school level safety teams.
Indicators of Success Available Resources 1.1 A district and school level emergency response plan (ERP) has been developed in coordination with local emergency response agencies and other appropriate stakeholders including the following: police and fire departments, EMS, local medical facilities, administrators, staff, parents and students, school nurse(s), school resource officer(s), mental health agencies, school transportation personnel and other appropriate community representatives. 1.2 All district and school ERPs include the following elements: first responder team, postvention team, parent notification plan, plan for relocating and releasing students, designated primary and alternate evacuation routes, planning for school-sponsored events, field trips, bus emergencies and on-site and off-site command posts. 1.3 District and school ERPs follow FEMA’s (Federal Emergency Management Agency) emergency management cycling including the following stages in planning: mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. 1.4 District and school ERPs integrate a multi-hazard approach to planning and annually assesses the following hazards: classrooms, community, structural and non-structural. When present, the SRO (School Resource Officer) conducts /or assists schools in these assessments.
- Introduction to Hazard Mitigation(Training Module)
- Insurenet Disaster Preparedness Guide
- NCEF Safe Schools Facilities Checklist
- School Building Assessment Methods
- Building Successful Programs to Address Chemical Risks in Schools
- An Introduction to Hazardous Materials(Training Module)
- Tennessee School Resource Officer Association
1.5 The ERP has identified district and school safety teams with roles and responsibilities aimed at preventing, responding to and recovering from emergencies. Members include but not limited to the following individuals: director of schools, administrators, staff, parents, school bus personnel and local emergency response agencies. 1.6 The ERP designates district and school-level safety coordinators. The names of these individuals have been communicated to local emergency response agencies, administrators, staff and students, and other appropriate individuals. 1.7 An Incident Command System (ICS) for the district and school integrates a chain of command (outlined in an organizational chart) with a single incident commander and alternates to carry out the ERP. ICS utilizes FEMA’s five functional areas including: command, operations, planning, logistics and finance/administration. 1.8 Each individual falling under the Incident Command System (ICS) has assigned and designated responsibilities during an emergency and received training accordingly. 1.9 Mutual aid agreements exist with local response agencies that outline the type of assistance, and identify a chain of command for activating the agreement, define a common language for communicating before, during and after an emergency, and include response agencies when conducting functional exercises. 1.10 The district and schools have readily available and provided a current copy of the ERP, floor plans/blueprints, schematics, and maps of the school interior and grounds to local emergency response agencies. 1.11 The district and school ERP has designated a first responder team of individuals trained in CPR, bloodborne pathogens, first aid, general emergency management and the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator). The first responder team is readily available to manage and care for students, administrators, staff, and visitors in the absence of or while awaiting local emergency response agencies. 1.12 The district ERP has integrated a recovery strategy into the plan that coordinates a postvention team available to each school. The team is accessible to provide counseling and other support for students, staff, and parents following an emergency or other traumatic event. 1.13 The district and school ERPs included an emergency transportation plan for moving students to an off-site location including at least two alternative sites (one of which is outside the local community). 1.14 The district ERP has addressed any potential emergencies that might take place while transporting students and staff (a separate emergency plan for school buses is developed and revised annually or as needed). 1.15 An internal and external communication plan is developed to ensure contact is established in a way that facilitates rapid and secure distribution of critical emergency information. Furthermore, plain language is developed and used for commands that alert administrators, staff, students and local emergency response agencies to the appropriate emergency response(s). 1.16 The district ERP has outlined a media response/communication plan. At minimum the plan includes the following: a designated public information officer (PIO), the establishment of one unified message, plan for communicating information to parents and the community, identified and separate staging areas for the media, and guidelines on how to respond to media questioning during an emergency. 1.17 District, school, classroom, and bus emergency kits are on hand and include (when appropriate): specific emergency response plans (flip charts, crisis cards, etc.), staff and student emergency contact and medical information, bus route information, student release information, first aid kits and other appropriate items. 1.18 District and school ERPs address and plan for the distinct needs of special populations during an emergency such as disabled and/or non-English-speaking students and staff. 1.19 The district and school ERPs have included plans for the documentation of administrative actions during an emergency. Such records might include the following: telephone logs, detailed description of events and actions taken, records of injuries and follow-up actions, accounting for administrators, staff and students. 1.20 The district and school ERPs have included plans for the notification of parents and parent pick up documentation, e.g. School Messenger, School Cast, etc. 1.21 In coordination with local emergency response agencies, the district and school has developed, disseminated and implemented emergency drills/procedures for the following: evacuation, reverse evacuation, lockdown, shelter-in-place, and drop, cover and hold. Administrators, staff, and students have been trained in these procedures. 1.22 The school district is engaged with local emergency planning committee in continuity of operations planning (COOP). Such planning might include: identifying mission-critical operations, developing alternative staffing plans for teachers and staff, developing plans for continuity of education, services for special needs population, and food services for students receiving free or reduced price lunches. 1.23 All components of the district and school ERP are reviewed and revised annually based on deficiencies identified through drills, exercises, and actual implementation. Any new potential hazards, safety issues, and/or threats (based on yearly assessments) are accounted for in the ERP. Revisions to the ERP are made in coordination with all appropriate stakeholders and delivered to local emergency response agencies ensuring that a current plan resides with these agencies at all times. 1.24 Consistent with Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-801 the district has made available a summary of the system-wide ERP for public comment at least (30) days prior to its adoption.
- Standard 2.0: Prevention and Intervention
Some emergencies can be prevented and/or mitigated. School safety planning includes taking appropriate steps to prevent problems from developing in the first place. Districts should attempt to defuse a crisis before it occurs by creating supportive learning environments that strive to reduce potential risks to the greatest extent possible. This includes training administrators and staff to identify students who exhibit early warning signs for the potential use of violence.
Indicators of Success Available Resources 2.1 Administrators, staff and transportation personnel are trained to identify the early-warning signs associated with students who pose a potential threat to others or themselves including training in threat assessment and crisis intervention.
- A Guide to Managing Threatening Situations and to Creating Safe School Climates
- Center for the Prevention of School Violence
2.2 The school district has established linkages to local mental health agencies, including a mobile crisis team/postvention team that will support schools during the recovery phase of a crisis. 2.3 Administrators, staff, and transportation personnel are provided in-service training to teach positive social skills, healthy lifestyles, and violence prevention and fuse these topics into the curriculum. 2.4 Students have access to licensed school counselors who are implementing the Tennessee Comprehensive School Counseling Model and are empowered to make recommendations to outside social service agencies that can assist the student with his or her particular needs. 2.5 Parents, students and the community are partners with the district and school and take an active role in the collective responsibility for the safety of the schools.
- National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education
- National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools
2.6 Alternatives to suspension and expulsion have been built into the disciplinary policy and are appropriately and consistently used. Alternative education programs utilize best practices in the field as outlined in Tennessee’s Model for Alternative Education.
- Standard 3.0: Policies and Procedures
Carefully developed policies and procedures can help to reduce emergencies and compliment your existing emergency response plan (ERP). Effective policies and procedures outlining specific actions regarding day-to-day operations can help prevent, or reduce the chances of an emergency and/or crisis.
Indicators of Success Available Resources 3.1 The district and all schools have a written code of conduct based on stakeholder input that is revised annually, ensures safe and disciplined classrooms, avoids technical jargon, and is clearly communicated to staff, students and parents. (i.e. commonly found in the student handbook) 3.2 Consistent with Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-1016, the school district has implemented a policy prohibiting and responding to an incident of harassment, intimidation, and bullying. This policy should be included in the code of conduct. The school district shall provide training to teachers and counselors regarding the policy and appropriate procedures relative to implementation of the policy. 3.3 The district has a formal procedure to receive, investigate, and respond to threats, an actual incident of violence, or other misconduct by students or staff. 3.4 The State Board of Education’s Unsafe School Choice Policy is implemented and regularly communicated to administrators, teachers, staff and students. 3.5 A memorandum of understanding exists when a school resource officer is assigned to a particular school building. The MOU designates the SRO’s role within the school environment and their responsibilities during an emergency. Furthermore, a MOU exists between the district and a local mental health agency. 3.6 The district has formal procedures in place that limit access to each educational facility to authorized students, administrators and staff. Procedures include a clearly marked and centralized point for screening all visitors. Each facility also has procedures for securing the school after hours and/or when unoccupied. 3.7 Consistent with Tenn. Code Ann. §. 49-5-413 the school district has conducted criminal history/background checks of all teachers and other employees working in close proximity to school children or children in a child care program. Pursuant to the legislation cited above, history/background checks are conducted on all vendors having direct contact or access to the grounds of a school or child care center when children are present. 3.8 The district has a policy that prohibits weapons on or in any educational facility. This policy has been communicated to administrators, staff, transportation personnel, students, parents and the community. Signs are posted in each facility that indicates the existence of this policy. 3.9
A certified fire marshal inspector has conducted an annual fire safety assessment of all educational facilities to ensure compliance with the guidelines set forth. Deficiencies are immediately addressed and remedied based on the inspector’s findings.
The district has developed and implemented procedures for verifying that required and planned emergency drills (e.g. fire, severe weather, intruder) have been conducted at each school.
3.11 The district has adopted procedures for responding to reports of a firearm on campus. Procedures include the immediate notification of local law enforcement as required by Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-4209. 3.12 When the school district negotiates contracts with outside agencies, the district specifies appropriate measures to ensure the safety and general well being of students benefiting from those services (i.e. requiring an emergency response plan, training, drills, etc.).