Student Safety Plans

What is a Safety Plan?

A student safety plan is a plan developed for a student whose behaviour is known to pose an ongoing risk to themselves, other students, workers or other people in general.

Recommended Components of a Student Safety Plan

  • Description of the observable behaviour concerns

  • Triggers or antecedents

  • Prevention and intervention strategies to support workers and student safety

  • Communication procedures for all workers (teaching and non-teaching) whether permanent or occasional

  • Emergency communication procedures for all workers

Who Can Access a Safety Plan

Procedures should be in place so that all workers (teaching and non-teaching, permanent or occasional) who are considered at risk of workplace violence be granted access to a safety plan by school administration. School boards should consider storing the student safety plan independently of the Ontario Student Record (OSR) in order to facilitate information sharing as required under OHSA, while being mindful of legislative requirements regarding privacy.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires school boards and supervisors to provide workers with information, including personal information, related to a risk of workplace violence from a person with a history of violent behaviour, if the worker can be expected to encounter that person in the course of their work and the risk of workplace violence is likely to expose the worker to physical injury.

School boards and supervisors must not disclose more personal information about a person with a history of violent behaviour than is reasonably necessary to protect workers from physical injury. For instance, workers may not need to know specific student information depending on the circumstance, but must understand the measures and procedures, (e.g., in a Student Safety Plan) to be followed as part of the workplace violence program in order to protect themselves.

Please see: A Guide to Ontario Legislation Covering the Release of Students’ Personal Information, 2011

Who Should be Involved in Developing the Safety Plan?

  • All school board workers who have direct ongoing involvement with the student

  • School administration

  • Parents and/or guardians should be consulted

  • If appropriate, community agency workers working with the student or family can also be consulted

When creating the student safety plan educators may wish to consider first creating a Behaviour Support Plan to assist in better understanding the functions of the student’s behaviours and how they may be improved.


Behaviour Support Plans

A behaviour support plan is a written plan that is designed to target the underlying reason for behaviour, replace the inappropriate behaviour with an appropriate behaviour that serves the same function, and reduce or eliminate the challenging behaviour (Caring and Safe Schools in Ontario, 2010).

Effective behaviour management is an ongoing process with definable steps. It begins with a functional behaviour assessment (FBA), which is a systematic process designed to look beyond the student’s behaviour and focus on identifying its function or purpose. Based on the FBA, a behavioural support plan is developed to identify alternative behaviours for the student, and strategies for reducing or replacing ineffective behaviours.

Finally, ongoing monitoring is used to review progress and identify any changes that need to be made. If appropriate, the behaviour support plan and the student safety plan should be reviewed following violent incidents to seek improvements in safety for both the student and workers.

If a student is receiving special education programs and services it may be appropriate to consider strategies found in both the Behaviour Support Plan and the Student Safety Plan in the creation of the Individual Education Plan (IEP), as they may inform good practice in programming to support the student’s needs.

When is the Safety Plan Reviewed and Updated?

The student safety plan should be reviewed and updated to see what can be learned and improved in the interest of student and worker safety. School boards should consider reviewing and updating a student safety plan:

  • when there is a change in behaviour that could increase the potential for violence.

  • when there is a violent incident involving a student.

  • at least annually.

Source: Workplace Violence in School Boards - A Guide to the Law (pdf) (html)