Dealing With Dangerous Students
Dangerous students are rare, but education employees are facing more and more of them in the schools. Teachers need to know their rights, responsibilities, and ways to protect themselves and students. As with any problem, be sure to contact your local MEA-MFT president if you need help.
This article was written to help education employees deal with this critical issue. For purposes of this article, dangerous students are defined as those who cause serious harm to another person, to themselves, or to their surroundings.
Behaviorally dangerous students.
Protect yourself before an incident occurs:
1. Know your school policy and procedures.
2. Know or develop a school-wide CRISIS plan.
3. Prepare yourself for crisis events. KEEP COPIES OF ALL DOCUMENTS.
a. Have a working system of communications using tools such as the intercom, code word with another teacher or school employee who works near you. Develop your own safety net that works for you.
b. Regularly review and update your plan to meet the needs of the current population.
4. Classroom teachers should develop, post, and distribute to parents and students a well-defined discipline policy for their classrooms. Suggestion: Send the policy home for signature by a parent or guardian.
When a student's behavior becomes threatening, school employees are advised to:
1. Notify another adult for help, i.e., call on the intercom, send another student for help.
2. Isolate the student, BUT KEEP HIM OR HER UNDER VISUAL CONTACT. This may mean you have to remove all other students from the area.
3. DO NOT TOUCH THE STUDENT UNLESS THE STUDENT IS A DANGER TO SELF, OTHERS, OR PROPERTY.
4. Have an administrator or designee remove the student to a secure area. It is the responsibility of the administrator or designee to notify parents or guardians and appropriate authorities regarding the incident and district policy and to arrange a meeting to coordinate a plan for the reintegration of the student into school and/or the classroom.
5. If you receive an injury, seek medical help and file for Workers' Compensation immediately. (Contact your local MEA-MFT president for help.)
6. Review your district discipline policy.
7. Document the incident and the sequence of events. KEEP COPIES OF ALL DOCUMENTS.
a. Identify all witnesses.
b. Identify the number of students present.
c. Identify the student sent to get the administrator/designee.
d. Document all action taken by you, the person providing assistance, and the administrator including BUT NOT LIMITED TO:
- Intervention strategy
- Any physical contact with the student
- Appearance of, or lack of, bruises
- Weapon(s) present
- Language used by you and the student
- Administrative response
- Any contact with parents/guardians
8. Notify your local MEA-MFT president, or MEA-MFT field representative.
9. Participate in developing a plan of action for reintegration of the student into school: Involve parents/guardian, student, administrator, specialists, and all staff working with student, including librarian, PE teacher, nurse, teacher aide, etc.