4311 School Safety and Security Services Program
At the beginning of each school year, if the district has safety and security staff working on school property, the district must present to and discuss with students, and distribute to students’ families, information about the role and responsibilities of safety and security staff.
“Safety and security staff” means a school resource officer, a school security officer, a campus security officer, and any other commissioned or noncommissioned employee or contractor, whose primary job duty is to provide safety or security services for a public school. This definition is supplied by Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 28A.320.124.
Consistent with state law, the requirements of this policy apply to district or contracted safety and security staff working on school property when students are expected to be present. This policy is not intended to apply to alarm response staff or contracts with law enforcement agencies or security guard companies that secure properties after hours when students are not expected to be present.
“School resource officer” (SRO) means a commissioned law enforcement officer in the state of Washington with sworn authority to make arrests, deployed in community-oriented policing, and assigned by the employing police department or sheriff’s office to work in schools to build positive relationships with students and address crime and disorder problems, gangs, and drug activities affecting or occurring in or around K–12 schools.
Pursuant to Board Resolution No. 2019/20-38, Seattle Public Schools has committed to an indefinite moratorium on the use of the Seattle Police Department’s School Emphasis Officer (SEO) and SRO programs. Accordingly, this policy does not address the role of SEOs or SROs, which were a Seattle-specific position staffed by police officers, as they are not presently working in Seattle Public Schools. As a general rule, law enforcement activity should take place at a location other than school premises. Board Policy No. 4310 and Superintendent Procedure 4310SP, Relations with Law Enforcement, Child Protective Services, and the County Health Department, address relationships with law enforcement agencies.
The purpose of the Seattle Public Schools safety and security services program is to improve school safety and the educational climate at the school. The safety and security staff shall be integrated into the school community through participation in faculty and student meetings and assemblies as appropriate. They shall support a positive school climate by developing positive relationships with students, parents, and staff, and by helping to promote a safe, inclusive, and positive learning environment.
In the interest of preventing unnecessary contact between youth and law enforcement, or involvement in the judicial system, Seattle Public Schools has a Safety and Security Department staffed to address most school safety issues. These staff members provide a layer of safety response before, and in place of, law enforcement involvement. They do not act as a conduit to law enforcement. This policy establishes principles, guidelines, and expectations on how this safety response takes place.
The primary responsibility for maintaining proper order and conduct in the schools resides with school principals or their designees, with the support of other school staff. Principals or their designees maintain order and handle all student discipline matters consistent with the Seattle Public Schools Student Rights and Responsibilities.
Safety and security staff should not be called upon to intervene in minor classroom matters but should be focused on safety issues and incidents. Safety and security staff are not permitted to decide school discipline, which is the role of administrators, but are expected to be proactive in preventing and responding to safety issues and may assist with investigations, serve as a student advocate, or serve in a similar role at the direction of an administrator or designee.
Requests for Intervention
Teachers and school administrators may ask safety and security staff to intervene in addressing safety issues with students with a goal of de-escalation or in other emergency circumstances consistent with Board Policy No. 3432, Emergencies. Safety and security staff do not need to be asked before intervening in emergencies or safety issues that they independently observe during their work period. When safety and security staff are asked to assist with an incident of safety concern, school administrators act as the incident commanders and should be present whenever possible, especially when there is a concern that physical intervention may become necessary to prevent physical harm. Leadership of the situation is not “handed off” to safety and security staff. All responding personnel must work together in the best interests of the students. If safety and security staff encounter an incident of safety concern or emergency that requires immediate intervention, they should advise the school administration immediately, or as soon as possible, depending on the gravity of the situation, the imminence of any threat of harm, and capacity for communication at the moment.
Agreements with Contracted Security Personnel
Seattle Public Schools may provide contracted security staff for certain athletic or extra-curricular events on school property in which students are expected to be present. This type of security is designed to mitigate external threats and address non-student crowd control. As such, safety and security staff contracted for this purpose are not expected to interact with students or intervene in student behavior or discipline issues except in emergency circumstances when district staff are unable to respond. Student behavior and discipline are the responsibility of the school administration.
If a law enforcement agency or security guard company supplies safety and security staff to work on school property when students are expected to be present, the district must annually review and adopt an agreement with the law enforcement agency or security guard company. The agreement must:
The agreement review and adoption process must involve parents, students, and community members.
The superintendent or designee will develop additional procedures to implement this policy.