Schools need to develop and implement policies and procedures focused on creating a climate of safety and security for all of the students and adults. As a result, schools establish an environment that builds respectful relationships and strengthens teaching and learning.
The development and use of safety plans, discipline codes, and bullying policies is essential to keep students safe and engaged in learning. The safety of schools must be based on the application of policies that reflect the priorities of the school community.
School safety plans address two critical issues: the early detection of potential violence or harm, and response and intervention to emergencies and crises. To ensure the safety of students, teachers, administrators and staff, every school should be prepared to handle and recover from an emergency. Contact the RI Emergency Management Agency to request school safety materials and resources, including the Model School Safety Plan.
According to RIGL §16-2-17, each student, staff member, teacher, and administrator has a right to attend and/or work at a school which is safe and secure, and which is conducive to learning, and which is free from the threat, actual or implied, of physical harm by a disruptive student.
The RI Statewide Bullying Policy, known as the Safe Schools Act, was promulgated pursuant to the authority set forth in §16-21-34 of the General Laws of Rhode Island. The purpose of the Policy is to ensure a consistent and unified statewide approach to the prohibition of bullying at school. Click here for a summary and frequently asked questions of the new RI Statewide Bullying Policy.
RIGL §16-21-21 requires school committees to maintain and enforce discipline policies.
RIGL §16-21-18, §16-21-19, and §16-21-20 prohibit firearms at school, and identify penalties for violations, special rules for students with disabilities, and alternative placement and prevention activities. RIGL §16-21-21.1 states that penalties related to other weapons, alcohol, or drugs be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Counseling and Psychological Services are services provided to improve students' mental, emotional, and social health. These services include individual and group assessments, interventions, and referrals. Research shows that school-based social services programs may reduce school drop-out rates, increase grades, promote school engagement, and improve parent-child and parent-teacher communication.