Safety and Wellness
At Andover Public Schools, the physical safety and mental/emotional wellbeing of our students, staff and visitors is a top priority. We are all at our best when we feel safe and comfortable at school.
Our approach is multi-pronged. Many of our efforts are about building a culture of safety and wellness. Others are more process-driven and involve technology, architecture and other tools.
As you might imagine, we don’t publicly discuss all of the safety efforts employed by the district in an effort to maintain a secure environment. However, here are some of the initiatives we have in place to protect everyone at our schools.
Kansas School Safety Hotline:
- Mental Wellness
- Suicide Prevention Resources
- Emergency Safety Interventions
- School Resource Officers
- Weather Information
- District Crisis Team
- Vulnerability Assessments
- Run, Hide, Fight
- See Something, Say Something
- School Resource Officers
- Secure Entry
- Crisis App
- Storm Shelters
- Project ADAM
Our District Crisis Team meets monthly to review processes, procedures and tools to ensure a system-level approach to safety. Members review best practices and current trends to stay on top of safety efforts. This team consists of district administrators, building administrators and school resource officers, as well as communications, technology and health care staff.
Students and staff receive response training and participate in training exercises using the principles of Run, Hide, Fight. These principles are discussed in class and are practiced through carefully designed scenarios. The Run, Hide, Fight tactics are endorsed by the FBI, Homeland Security, as well as local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
We promote a culture of “see something, say something” among students and staff in our buildings. Students know that if they see or hear of a potential threat, they need to tell an adult about it; likewise, adults know to share information about any potential threat to administration or a school resource officer.
Through a partnership with the Andover Police Department, we have four School Resource Officers in our buildings when school is in session. These uniformed police officers are assigned to a middle school or high school, then have additional duties at assigned elementary schools. Our SROs not only help to ensure a safe environment due to their presence in our schools, but they also serve as educators on health and safety topics, counselors who work with individual students, and serve other important roles in our schools.
All of the outside doors in our facilities are locked with the exception of one per building that leads to a secure vestibule for entry through the main office. Once inside the vestibule a 2-way communication device is used by visitors to communicate with staff members in the office. Administrative assistants are trained to screen visitors who come to our main entry before allowing them indoors. Doors are not allowed to be propped open.
At the direction of the District Crisis Team, our schools perform drills regularly to help prepare for a variety of threat situations. Unfortunately, there are a variety of threats that could affect a school, so we discuss situations such as a fire, tornado, active shooter (inside threat or outside threat), chemical spill, illness of a staff member, etc. Administrators are directed to debrief with staff members after these drills in search for learning opportunities. Drills are conducted in a realistic but non-threatening manner to provide training and experience that will be helpful should an actual emergency arise.
Our staff uses a mobile app called Crisis Go that allows them to alert colleagues of a potential threat and communicate with them during the situation. Crisis Go allows us to account for students and staff members within minutes of an emergency, so we know which of them are safe and which are unaccounted for.
- Focus on Relationships
- Drug/Alcohol Prevention
- Smarter, Safer Kids
- Emotional and Character Development
- Youth Suicide Awareness
We believe that positive, healthy relationships are key to mental and emotional wellbeing. Our principals, teachers and other staff members work hard to foster a culture that promotes connections for students, both with adults and fellow students. Programs such as Capturing Kids’ Hearts create an environment that encourages inclusion of every student and the modeling of positive relationships.
Our school counselors serve a variety of roles. One of those roles is to ensure the mental and emotional wellbeing of our students. Students and parents are encouraged to visit with a counselor if they have mental health concerns, and counselors can connect parents and students with community resources such as South Central Mental Health, which can provide additional help.
Bullying has no place in public schools, or society. Our schools offer students multiple ways to report bullying, including anonymous methods. Students also may report a bullying incident to a staff member, administrator or School Resource Officer. Every report of bullying will be fully investigated.
Through Project Echo, both of our high schools have developed drug prevention programs that focus on education and rehabilitation rather than punishment. These programs are based on CDC best practices that show education and counseling are more effective than simply suspending a child for drug use. For example, first-time offenders caught with nicotine are given the option to complete an online education program to have their long-term suspension shortened and return to school on probation. As part of these projects, schools have an amnesty program that allows students to turn in vapes and other devices with no punishment.
Both of our high schools a part of the #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign to prevent teen suicide. Student leaders, in conjunction with the state’s #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign, conduct events at the school to raise awareness of mental health resources and eliminate the stigma of talking about mental health challenges.
Safer, Smarter Kids is a curriculum developed by educators, developmental psychologists and experts in abuse prevention. The curriculum, administered by counselors, teaches elementary students to identify and avoid unsafe situations, people and behaviors – and how to access help. The lessons incorporate videos and in-class activities that address topics such as body boundaries, respecting yourself and others, the difference between safe and unsafe secrets, listening to your “guiding voice” and telling a trusted adult when a situation makes you feel confused or uncomfortable.
Andover Public Schools works to ensure students develop emotional and character traits established as a goal by the Kansas State Department of Education. This goal states that traits such as being caring and civil, making healthy decisions, problem-solving effectively, valuing excellence, being respectful and responsible, being a good citizen, and being empathetic and ethical are key to success after high school.
Suicide is one of the leading causes of preventable death in our nation today. We lose an average of more than 113 young people each week to this tragedy that can be prevented. Education is the key to prevention. Never be reluctant to get involved and always take any child/adolescent’s desire or intent to harm themselves seriously. If you suspect a young person of suicidal thoughts, get them to professional help immediately. Suicide is preventable.
If you or a friend need to talk with a counselor for help or for resources available in your area, call one of the agencies listed below for immediate help.
- South Central Mental Health
- After Hours Emergency: 1-855-773-6686
- Andover: (316) 733-5047
- Augusta: (316) 425-0073
- El Dorado: (316) 321-6036
- Sedgwick County COMCARE
- 316-660-7500 (24-hour crisis hotline)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- You Matter
- The Trevor Project
- (866) 488-7386
- The Jason Foundation
Emergency Safety Interventions (ESI) are seclusion and restraint that are used when the student presents a reasonable and immediate danger to self or others. We are providing you with the standards for when ESI may be used, a flyer on your rights under ESI law, information on your right to file a complaint with the local board of education through the local dispute resolution process, information on your right to request administrative review from the Kansas State Board of Education and information to assist you in navigating these processes.
If an emergency safety intervention occurs, parents are strongly encouraged to schedule a meeting to: 1) discuss the incident and 2) discuss prevention of future use of emergency safety interventions. The district contact listed below is available to assist in scheduling this meeting. This meeting will be scheduled no later than ten (10) school days from when the parent makes the request unless the parent cannot meet within that time frame.
Please use review this information in case you have future questions or concerns.
The board of education is committed to limiting the use of Emergency Safety Interventions (“ESI”), such as seclusion and restraint, with all students. The board of education encourages all employees to utilize other behavioral management tools, including prevention techniques, de-escalation techniques, and positive behavioral intervention strategies. This policy shall be made available on the district website with links to the policy available on any individual school pages. In addition, this policy shall be included in at least one of the following: each school’s code of conduct, school safety plan, or student handbook. Notice of the online availability of this policy shall be provided to parents during enrollment each year.
- “Emergency Safety Intervention” is the use of seclusion or physical restraint, but does not include physical escort or the use of time-out.
- “Incident” means each occurrence of the use of an emergency safety intervention.
- “Law enforcement officer” and “police officer” mean a full-time or part-time salaried officer or employee of the state, a county, or a city, whose duties include the prevention or detection of crime and the enforcement of criminal or traffic law of this state or any Kansas municipality. This term includes a campus police officer.
- “Legitimate law enforcement purpose” means a goal within the lawful authority of an officer that is to be achieved through methods or conduct condoned by the officer’s appointing authority.
- “Seclusion” means placement of a student in a location where all of the following conditions are met: (1) the student is placed in an enclosed area by school personnel; (2) the student is purposefully isolated from adults and peers; and (3) the student is prevented from leaving, or reasonably believes that he or she will be prevented from leaving the enclosed area.
- “Chemical Restraint” means the use of medication to control a student’s violent physical behavior or restrict a student’s freedom of movement. “Mechanical Restraint” means any device or object used to limit a student’s movement.
- “Parent” means: (1) a natural parent; (2) an adoptive parent; (3) a person acting as a parent as defined in K.S.A. 72-1046(d)(2), and amendments thereto; (4) a legal guardian; (5) an education advocate for a student with an exceptionality; (6) a foster parent, unless the student is a child with an exceptionality; or (7) a student who has reached the age of majority or is an emancipated minor.
- “Physical Restraint” means bodily force used to substantially limit a student’s movement, except that consensual, solicited or unintentional contact and contact to provide comfort, assistance or instruction shall not be deemed to be physical restraint.
- “Physical Escort” means the temporary touching or holding the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, or back of a student who is acting out for the purpose of inducing the student to walk to a safe location.
- “Campus police officer” means a school security officer designated by the board of education of any school district pursuant to K.S.A 72-8222, and amendments thereto.
- “School resource officer” means a law enforcement officer or police officer employed by a local law enforcement agency who is assigned to a district through an agreement between the local law enforcement agency and the district.
- “School security officer” means a person who is employed by a board of education of any school district for the purpose of aiding and supplementing state and local law enforcement agencies in which the school district is located but is not a law enforcement officer or police officer.
- “Time-out” means a behavioral intervention in which a student is temporarily removed from a learning activity without being secluded.
Prohibited Types of Restraint
All staff members are prohibited from engaging in the following actions with all students:
- Using face-down (prone) physical restraint;
- Using face-up (supine) physical restraint;
- Using physical restraint that obstructs the student’s airway;
- Using physical restraint that impacts a student’s primary mode of communication;
- Using chemical restraint, except as prescribed treatments for a student’s medical or psychiatric condition by a person appropriately licensed to issue such treatments; and
- Use of mechanical restraint, except:
- Protective or stabilizing devices required by law or used in accordance with an order from a person appropriately licensed to issue the order for the device;
- Any device used by a certified law enforcement officers to carry out law enforcement duties; or
- Seatbelts and other safety equipment when used to secure students during transportation.
Use of Emergency Safety Interventions
ESI shall be used only when a student presents a reasonable and immediate danger of physical harm to such student or others with the present ability to effect such physical harm. Less restrictive alternatives to ESI, such as positive behavior interventions support, shall be deemed inappropriate or ineffective under the circumstances by the school employee witnessing the student’s behavior prior to the use of any ESI. The use of ESI shall cease as soon as the immediate danger of physical harm ceases to exist. Violent action that is destructive of property may necessitate the use of an ESI. Use of an ESI for purposes of discipline, punishment or for the convenience of a school employee shall not meet the standard of immediate danger of physical harm.
A student shall not be subjected to ESI if the student is known to have a medical condition that could put the student in mental or physical danger as a result of ESI. The existence of such medical condition must be indicated in a written statement from the student’s licensed health care provider, a copy of which has been provided to the school and placed in the student’s file. Such written statement shall include an explanation of the student’s diagnosis, a list of any reasons why ESI would put the student in mental or physical danger, and any suggested alternatives to ESI. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, a student may be subjected to ESI, if not subjecting the student to ESI would result in significant physical harm to the student or others.
Use of Seclusion
When a student is placed in seclusion, a school employee shall be able to see and hear the student at all times. All seclusion rooms equipped with a locking door shall be designed to ensure that the lock automatically disengages when the school employee viewing the student walks away from the seclusion room, or in case of emergency, such as fire or severe weather.
A seclusion room shall be a safe place with proportional and similar characteristics as other rooms where students frequent. Such room shall be free of any condition that could be a danger to the student, well-ventilated and sufficiently lighted. Training All staff members shall be trained regarding the use of positive behavioral intervention strategies, de-escalation techniques, and prevention techniques. Such training shall be consistent with nationally recognized training programs on ESI. The intensity of the training provided will depend upon the employee’s position. Administrators, licensed staff members, and other staff deemed most likely to need to restrain a student will be provided more intense training than classified staff who do not work directly with students in the classroom. District and building administration shall make the determination of the intensity of training required by each position. Each school building shall maintain written or electronic documentation regarding the training that was provided and a list of participants, which shall be made available for inspection by the state board of education upon request.
Notification and Documentation
The principal or designee shall notify an emergency contact person for such student, the same day the as an incident. The same-day notification requirement of this subsection shall be deemed satisfied if the school attempts at least two methods of contacting the parent. A parent may designate a preferred method of contact to receive the same-day notification. Also, a parent may agree, in writing, to receive only one same-day notification from the school for multiple incidents occurring on the same day. Documentation of the ESI used shall be completed and provided to the student’s parents no later than the school day following the day of the incident. Such written documentation shall include: (A) The events leading up to the incident; (B) student behaviors that necessitated the ESI; (C) steps taken to transition the student back into the educational setting; (D) the date and time the incident occurred, the type of ESI used, the duration of the ESI, and the school personnel who used or supervised the ESI; a space or an additional form for parents to provide feedback or comments to the school regarding the incident; (F) a statement that invites and strongly encourages parents to schedule a meeting to discuss the incident and how to prevent future incidents; and (G) email and phone information for the parent to contact the school to schedule the ESI meeting. Schools may group incidents together when documenting the items in subparagraphs (A), (B) and (C) if the triggering issue necessitating the ESI’s is the same.
The parent shall be provided the following information after the first and each subsequent incident during each school year: (1) a copy of this policy which indicates when ESI can be used; (2) a flyer on the parent’s rights; (3) information on the parent’s right to file a complaint through the local dispute resolution process (which is set forth in this policy) and, the complaint process of the state board of education; and (4) information that will assist the parent in navigating the complaint process, including contact information for Families Together and the Disability Rights Center of Kansas. Upon the first occurrence of an incident ESI, the foregoing information shall be provided in printed form or, upon the parent’s written request, by email. Upon the occurrence of a second or subsequent incident, the parent shall be provided with a full and direct website address containing such information.
Law Enforcement, School Resource and Campus Security Officers
Campus police officers and school resource officers shall be exempt from the requirements of this policy when engaged in an activity that has a legitimate law enforcement purpose. School security officers shall not be exempt from the requirements of this policy. If a school is aware that a law enforcement officer or school resource officer has used seclusion, physical restraint, or mechanical restraint on a student, the school shall notify the parent the same day using the parent’s preferred method of contact. A school shall not be required to provide written documentation to a parent, as set forth above, regarding law enforcement use of an emergency safety intervention, or report to the state department of education any law enforcement use of an emergency safety intervention. For purposes of this subsection, mechanical restraint includes, but is not limited to, the use of handcuffs.
Documentation of ESI Incidents
Except as specified above with regard to law enforcement or school resource officer use of emergency safety interventions, each building shall maintain documentation any time ESI is used with a student. Such documentation must include all of the following:
- Date and time of the ESI,
- Type of ESI,
- Length of time the ESI was used,
- School personnel who participated in or supervised the ESI,
- Whether the student had an individualized education program at the time of the incident,
- Whether the student had a section 504 plan at the time of the incident, and whether the student had a behavior intervention plan at the time of the incident.
All such documentation shall be provided to the building principal, who shall be responsible for providing copies of such documentation to the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee on at least a biannual basis. At least once per school year, each building principal or designee shall review the documentation of ESI incidents with appropriate staff members to consider the appropriateness of the use of ESI in those instances.
District administration shall report ESI data to the state department of education as required.
Parent Right to Meeting on ESI Use
After each incident, a parent may request a meeting with the school to discuss and debrief the incident. A parent may request such meeting verbally, in writing, or by electronic means. A school shall hold a meeting requested under this subsection within 10 school days of the parent’s request. The focus of any such meeting shall be to discuss proactive ways to prevent the need for emergency safety interventions and to reduce incidents in the future.
For a student with an IEP or a Section 504 plan such student’s IEP team or Section 504 plan team shall discuss the incident and consider the need to conduct a functional behavioral assessment, develop a behavior intervention plan, or amend the behavior intervention plan if already in existence.
For a student with a section 504 plan, such student’s section 504 plan team shall discuss and consider the need for a special education evaluation. For students who have an individualized education program and are placed in a private school by a parent, a meeting called under this subsection shall include the parent and the private school, who shall consider whether the parent should request an individualized education program team meeting, If the parent requests an individualized education program team meeting, the private school shall help facilitate such meeting.
For a student without an IEP or Section 504, the school staff and the parent shall discuss the incident and consider the appropriateness of a referral for a special education evaluation, the need for a functional behavioral assessment, or the need for a behavior intervention plan. Any such meeting shall include the student’s parent, a school administrator for the school the student attends, one of the student’s teachers, a school employee involved in the incident, and any other school employees designated by the school administrator as appropriate for such meeting. The student who is the subject of such meetings shall be invited to attend the meeting at the discretion of the parent. The time for calling such a meeting may be extended beyond the 10-day limit if the parent of the student is unable to attend within that time period. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the development and implementation of a functional behavior assessment or a behavior intervention plan for any student if such student would benefit from such measures.
Local Dispute Resolution Process
If a parent believes that an emergency safety intervention has been used on the parent’s child in violation of state law or board policy, the parent may file a complaint as specified below. The board of education encourages parents to attempt to resolve issues relating to the use of ESI informally with the building principal and/or the superintendent before filing a formal complaint with the board. Once an informal complaint is received, the administrator handling such complaint shall investigate such matter as deemed appropriate by the administrator. In the event that the complaint is resolved informally, the administrator must provide a written report of the informal resolution to the superintendent and the parents and retain a copy of the report at the school. The superintendent will share the informal resolution with the board of education and provide a copy to the state department of education. If the issues are not resolved informally with the building principal and/or the superintendent, the parents may submit a formal written complaint to the board of education by providing a copy of the complaint to the clerk of the board and the superintendent within thirty (30) days after the parent is informed of the incident.
Upon receipt of a formal written complaint, the board president shall assign an investigator to review the complaint and report findings to the board as a whole. Such investigator may be a board member, a school administrator selected by the board, or a board attorney. Such investigator shall be informed of the obligation to maintain confidentiality of student records and shall report the findings of fact and recommended corrective action, if any, to the board in executive session.
Any such investigation must be completed within thirty (30) days of receipt of the formal written complaint by the board clerk and superintendent. On or before the 30th day after receipt of the written complaint, the board shall adopt a report containing written findings of fact and, if necessary, appropriate corrective action. A copy of the report adopted by the board shall be provided to the parents, the school, and the state board of education and shall be mailed to the parents and the state department within 30 days of the board’s receipt of the formal complaint. If desired, a parent may file a complaint under the state board of education administrative review process within thirty (30) days from the date a final decision is issued pursuant to the local dispute resolution process.
Through a partnership with the Andover Police Department, four School Resource Officers serve our schools. These officers' goal is to provide a safe learning environment for all administrators, staff and students. They assist administration and staff in addressing school- or law-related issues through prevention and intervention techniques. They serve as a informal counselors or educators for school- or law-related topics by providing resources and education.
Along with their duties as SROs, these officers speak and make presentations to students and parents on various topics. Our topics include safety concerns in schools and home, drugs and alcohol, bullying or harassment issues, and stranger presentations for young children. We also handle tours of the Andover Police Department for class field trips. (Please contact your SRO to schedule any of these presentations.)
- When is the snow day decision made?
- Who makes the decision to call a snow day?
- How will I be notified of a snow day?
- Why do buses not work in cold weather?
- Why doesn't Andover do late starts?
- Are we going to have to make up snow days?
If the weather is severe enough, the decision to cancel school may be made the night before the snow day. If so, this will occur in time for the closing to run on the 10 p.m. news. In many cases, however, the decision is made the morning of the potential snow day. If a snow day is called, the district tries to make a decision by 6 a.m.
Superintendent of Schools makes the final decision about snow days. He checks weather maps and forecasts, and also works with district staff members to check the roads, district sidewalks and parking lots. He also discusses the possibility of a snow day with other area superintendents. It is a difficult decision and one that hinges on what is best for student safety.
Snow days are listed in a variety of places. Any time school is cancelled, all student and staff homes will receive a School Messenger call and/or email alerting them of the situation. It will also be listed in local media -- television stations, radio stations, and all web sites for these media outlets as well as newspapers. Finally, it will appear on the home page of our website and on our twitter account, @AndoverSchools, as well as our district Facebook page.
Note: School Messenger only notifies the "primary parent" as listed in the PowerSchool student database system. If you are not the primary parent, please check with that person, or check area media or school website or social media sites for information about snow days.
Most buses have diesel engines. When the temperature reaches a certain temperature, the fuel in these engines can gel. There are additives that can be included in the fuel to help prevent this from happening, but in extreme temperatures it can still sometimes occur. Another bus issue in cold weather is often late buses. This can occur because of the gelling issue, but can also happen simply because the buses take extra time on snowy or otherwise compromised roads.
Most districts that do late starts in inclement weather are small districts that have a single tier bus system. With more than 5,800 students, Andover uses a two-tier bus system, meaning that we pick up secondary students first, then go back on roads and pick up elementary students. In addition, larger districts such as Andover don’t have collection points where multiple families/students stay at one home. Logistically it doesn't work in a large district to use delayed starts (also called “mud routes” in some districts). These delayed starts can also be challenging for working families who may not have anyone to watch their children.