Safe Schools

exterior of high school

Durham Catholic District School Board and St. Mary Catholic Secondary School promote responsibility, respect, civility and academic excellence in a safe learning and teaching environment. A positive school climate exists when all members of the school community feel safe, comfortable and accepted.

All students, parents/guardians, teachers, staff, trustees, volunteers, visitors, parish and community members have the right to be safe and to feel safe in their school. With this right comes the responsibility to contribute to a positive school climate.

We are focused on prevention, early intervention and progressive discipline as the keys to maintaining a positive environment where students can learn and educators can teach.

 

Report It

Report It is a tool for parents and students to advise us of non-emergency incidents of bullying and other school safety issues (for example vandalism). It is not monitored on a 24/7 basis. If this is an emergency, call 911.

Our top priority is the safety and well-being of all students. All students deserve to learn in a place where they feel safe. We want to know about incidents of bullying and other safety concerns so that we can take action and prevent further incidents from happening. We take issues of bullying and school safety very seriously.

We encourage parents and students to report incidents of bullying or other school safety concerns as soon as it happens. Speak with a teacher or school administration to provide information about the situation. 

 

Concussion Protocol

Our Board recognizes concussions as a serious injury. Concussion awareness, prevention, identification and management are a priority for the Board. A concussion is a serious event, but you can recover fully from such an injury if the brain is given enough time to rest and recuperate. Returning to normal activities, including sport participation, is a step-wise process that requires patience, attention, and caution. Please speak to your Vice-Principal if you have a concussion.

 If a child has experienced a previous concussion, then the following form must be completed:

 

Protection of Anaphylactic Students

The Board, principals, teachers and parents play an important role in providing a safe environment for anaphylactic students. It is essential that all schools are aware of the issues facing students with anaphylaxis, have developed strategies to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction, and are equipped to respond appropriately in the event of an emergency.

Anaphylaxis emergency plans can help to create safer environments for allergic individuals. School anaphylaxis plans help to reduce the risk of exposure to allergens and prepare school communities for an emergency situation. 

Parents/Guardians shall:

  • inform school officials forthwith of any life-threatening allergic condition and ensure that the information in the student's file, including but not limited to the medication that the student is taking is up-to-date and includes signed consent to disclose;
  • pre-authorize the administration of medication in response to an anaphylactic reaction provided that the school has up-to-date treatment medication and any applicable consent from the parent or guardian.

If applicable, Parents/Guardians should complete and submit Individual Education Plan: Protection of Anaphylactic Students to the Main Office. 

 

Ryan's Law, 2015 (Ensuring Asthma Friendly Schools)

Ryan's Law, 2015, was recently passed by the Ontario Legislature. This piece of legislation is an important step to support the well-being of students with asthma in Ontario schools. Over the course of the next school year, the Durham Catholic District School Board will be working to implement the requirements of this legislation and developing a more formal process to identify students with asthma and their asthma medication.

If your child has asthma, as a best practice and to support your child, we ask that you immediately contact the main office at your school to provide information about your child's asthma medication. With your permission, your child will be allowed to carry their asthma medication.

Please visit the Ministry of Education website for resources on asthma. 

 

Emergency Response Procedures

Staff, students and visitors in our schools have the right to learn, work, and be present in a safe and secure environment. To enhance safety and security, it is important that we have plans for responding to threats of violence, whether they occur outside of the school, inside of the school or as a threat, for example a bomb threat.  The Ministry of Education, school boards and police services from across the province work in partnership to ensure that we are provided with the most current and relevant information required to create effective Emergency Response Plans, for example the mandatory Lockdown and Hold and Secure plans.  This year, the Ministry of Education has made it a requirement that all schools have a consistent approach to bomb threat planning and explosive incident response.

During September's Safe and Caring Schools week, members of our school's Emergency Response team were trained in the changes and updates to our school's Emergency Response plans.  They in turn, will be training all staff so that we can communicate and practise the changes with our students.  We will be completing the first of two mandatory Lockdown drills and Bomb Threat Response drills by the end of October.

 As parents and guardians, you have an important role to play in supporting our Emergency Response planning efforts.  We ask that you reinforce with your child(ren) the importance of listening closely to all directions from staff members and following them exactly.  It is important that students take the practice of these drills seriously so that should an emergency occur, everyone knows exactly what to do.  Over the course of the next few months, we will share more information with you about our Emergency response plans so that you can reinforce them with your child(ren).

Lockdowns

Last month, we had the opportunity to practice one of our mandatory Lockdown drills.  Fortunately, the need for a real Lockdown is a rare.  However, if a lockdown is required, it is vital that staff and students react immediately to maximize safety for all.   To help in the practice of this drill so that all students know immediately what to do, beginning this year the acronym R - SAFE will be used and repeated in all preparation and practice situations.  Please review this acronym with your child(ren) to help reinforce what they need to do and why.

  GOAL FOR STUDENTS WHEN A LOCKDOWN IS CALLED
R - Remain Calm  In any emergency, remaining calm is always the first and most important step.
S - Secure Location  Students are to get to or remain in a secure location and follow the direction of the teacher.  If for some reason, a student was in the hallway or the washroom, then the student knows to get to the nearest room that can be secured or locked.
A - All Quiet  In a Lockdown, the goal is to make any room where there are people look as deserted as possible as quick as possible.  Being quiet and remaining quiet is key to making a room appear deserted.
F- Find the Safest Spot Once students are secured in a classroom or lockable area, students learn to find the safest spot in that room, for example as far away from the doors, windows or any other sightline.  Teachers will help students recognize where this spot is in their own classroom and in common areas like the library.
E - Electronics Off     Staff and students are required to turn off all electronics, like cell phones.  Students must be quiet and still and talking or texting on a cell phone puts themselves and others in danger.  During an emergency that requires a Lockdown, the police will take complete charge of the situation and that includes what information gets shared and when.  The last thing anyone would want is to negatively impact the situation by sharing information that might compromise the safety of others.

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