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A successful partnership with a transportation contractor, above, can give a district administrator more time to focus on educating.

Xenia Community Schools in Ohio faced a crisis in 2012 that forced administrators to slash $10 million from its annual budget. The district signed a five-year contract with a transportation contractor and saved $458,000. Still, such a move can be a challenging—and sometimes controversial—issue for many districts.

Today’s climate of budget cuts and shortfalls has increased the importance of risk management in school districts. In the past, school safety has primarily focused on disaster preparation and security issues, but it has come to mean much more.

 Nancy Willard is director of Embrace Civility in the Digital Age and author of several books on bullying.

Schools are encouraged—or required by law—to approach bullying as an act of defiance against authority. But such an approach focuses solely on bullying—at the exclusion of other forms of hurtful behavior.

Students visited Paris on a trip organized through the Student & Youth Travel Association in July 2014. Some district administrators cancelled trips to popular destinations including Paris, New York City and Washington, D.C., in recent months after terrorist attacks or threats on those locations.

The November terrorist attack on Paris and ensuing threats to major U.S. cities led many administrators nationwide to cancel class spring break trips in efforts to keep students safe. The decisions, in many cases, disappointed students, parents and city officials in popular tourist destinations.

All 50 states have school bullying laws ...though some are considered stronger than others. (Click graphic to enlarge)

Students living in states with an antibullying law that includes at least one U.S. Department of Education-recommended legislative component had lower reported bullying and cyberbullying rates compared to students living in states without such legal provisions, according to recent research.

Since 2013, 156 shootings had rattled nerves, and had injured or killed students and staff members in both K12 schools and colleges.

Mass shootings in the United States have tripled since 2011, according to Harvard University researchers. And as of late October, 29 shootings took place in K12 schools this year.

Since 2013, 156 shootings had rattled nerves, and had injured or killed students and staff members in both K12 schools and colleges, according to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. In some cases, a gun was fired but no one was injured, the group reports.

Ken Donovan, facilities/security manager at Stonington Public Schools in Connecticut, shows off a school’s lockdown emergency button. When pushed, the button will lock the doors, bar access to other floors, issue an audible warning that an intruder is present and alert to local police cruisers.

School administrators across the country are turning to portable panic buttons, cloud-based crisis management systems and other technology in the search for new ways to keep students and staff safe. The price tag can run from a few thousand dollars to well into six figures, but administrators say the cost is worth it.

The above chart, from United Educators’ “2011 Public Schools Claims Report,” shows the dollar cost of claims for each category of bodily injury among district employees across the nation. (Click to enlarge)

A few years ago, San Francisco USD had questions about the hundreds of community-based organizations teaching reading to students and growing school gardens, among a wide range of other activities. Administrators wanted to know the risks of outside groups using school facilities.

Rural Saco School District is located off Highway 2 in northeastern Montana. The highway and nearby train put the district’s 50-student school at greater risk for intruders, Superintendent Gordon Hahn says.

Superintendents in rural districts across America are increasingly making the controversial choice to carry a concealed weapon at school, in order to protect students from potential threats.

Tom Wohlleber, assistant superintendent for business services for Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, leads a safety session with administrators and teachers.

A “culture of safety”—at all levels of a district—is the first and most critical step in dealing with occupational injury. It also guides the prevention of, response to and mitigation of hazards in the workplace, including staff behavior.

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