Emergencies hit schools at the most inopportune times and can take many forms. From severe weather to responding to a behavioral health crisis, being prepared with a plan that has been created by your school’s team and local partners, approved by your trustees, and practiced by your school community is vital to increasing student and staff safety.  Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) provide guidance and practical solutions on how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergency situations. This planning process helps schools minimize injuries and property damage during an incident, and expedites the recovery process following an incident.

The resources, tools, and professional development opportunities included on the web pages below are designed to help schools prepare for and respond to emergency situations.  

Current Montana law regarding emergency planning in schools: MCA 20-1-401


New School Safety Resources

Supporting Students and Preventing Violence: Recognizing and Responding to Concerning Student Behaviors 

Recognizing and Responding to Concerning Student Behaviors: Everyone within a school and community plays a role in maintaining safety and supporting the wellbeing of students. This guide was developed to help recognize student behaviors which may indicate a cause for concern and how to respond to a student who may be in crisis.    

Suicide Prevention Training: Montana Crisis Action School Toolkit on Suicide (CAST-S)

Montana Crisis Action School Toolkit on Suicide (CAST-S) on-demand training video: In partnership with the Montana Safe Schools Center and NAMI-Montana, we are pleased to offer this on-demand training on how schools can work to prevent and respond to youth suicide using the Montana CAST-S. The CAST-S was developed by state and national experts to provide schools with the information and tools needed to prevent suicide from occurring, effectively react to student suicide ideation and attempt, and respond when a suicide does occur (postvention) to prevent further tragedy.      

Responding to Tragic Events: Information and Resources

Resources for Supporting Students, Families, and School Staff After a Tragic Event: It is important that students, families, and school staff feel safe in their schools and communities. Following a tragic event, it may be challenging for a school to maintain and foster feelings of safety. To assist schools during these challenging times, we have compiled these best-practice recommendations and resources schools may consider using.

Creating a Safe and Connected School Climate for American Indian Students 

Creating a Safe and Connected School Climate for American Indian Students: Guidance for Montana Schools Developed with Montana StudentsA positive school climate, where students feel safe and connected, is critically important to academic success as well as emotional wellbeing. However, very little research and literature exists to guide schools on how to create a positive school climate for American Indian students. The recommendations featured in this guide are informed by the research literature that is available as well as the lived experiences of a group of Montana Urban American Indian students.  

Creating School and Community Partnerships

 

To support students, families, and school staff a school may consider developing a partnership with an organization operating within the community. The video below outlines why and how a school can form a partnerships with a community organization and how to create a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to formalize the partnership. To support school and community partnerships, we have also created:

  • A sample memorandum of understanding (MOU)
  • memorandum of understanding (MOU) google doc template

Allowable Uses of ESSER III Funding to Support School Safety: Quick guide of allowable uses of ESSER III funding schools may consider implementing to support the safety of students, families, and school staff  

Behavioral Approach to Violence Prevention: This document displays common threating and concerning behaviors and the degree of concern each behavior may indicate. 

Strategies for Promoting Educator and Student Safety and Wellness During Online Learning: Information on available resources and strategies schools can implement to promote safety and wellness during online learning.

 

How to Use this Site

The Safety Resource pages below contain additional information and resource to support school safety. Below is a menu to help you navigate quickly to find the information you are looking for:

  • Emergency Operations Planning: Here you will find guidance and resources for developing a school emergency operations plan. It's recommended schools start here and use the plan to inform other school safety measures such as carrying out disaster dills and providing training and professional development. 
  • Responses to Emergency Situations: On this page you will find guidance and resources for responding to an emergency after it has occurred. 
  • Drills and Exercises: Here you will find tools and resources for developing and carrying out disaster drills and other exercises to help prepare for, prevent and mitigate emergency situations. It's recommended that schools use their emergency operations plan to guide decision-making around conducting disaster drills and providing training. 
  • Professional Development: This page was designed to help schools find training and professional development they may need to increase school safety. It's recommended schools use their emergency operations plan to guide decision-making around professional development and training. 
  • Resources: Here you will find an alphabetical list of many school safety resources and other websites to help you get the school safety information your school may be seeking. 
  • School Violence Prevention: This page contains strategies and information specific to preventing acts of violence in a school. 
  • Essential School Safety Actions: Here you will find the top ten recommended actions for Montana schools to take to increase school safety.  

Safety Resources

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Contact:

Michele Henson, School Safety Program Manager, 406-595-1058

Jamey Petersen, Coordinated School Health Unit Director- 406-437-1760