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Student Safety

Student Safety

At DCPS, the safety of our students is our top priority. DCPS strives to create an environment where every student is given the opportunities and supports that they need to thrive. As a part of this commitment, DCPS works to create a learning environment that supports the whole child by building capacity and systems for prevention; and instituting systems for timely response and support when an incident occurs.

Rights, Respect, Responsibility (3Rs) Curriculum

DCPS currently uses the Rights, Respect, Responsibility (3Rs) curriculum, a kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum that shares rights, respect, and responsibilities with students in a developmentally appropriate manner. The curriculum includes lessons on healthy relationships and consent.  Beginning in SY19-20, DCPS is hiring a Sexual Health manager who will create a plan to ensure a systematic implementation of the 3R’s lessons and provide trainings for school-based staff with implementation. Students will also be made more aware of the support structures and grievance procedures through which they will be able to report incidences that may involve inappropriate staff contact. Parents will be able to opt their children out if they choose.

Policy

DCPS issued a Prevention of Student Sexual Abuse by Staff Policy on August 30, 2019. The policy conveys DCPS requirements regarding the prevention of student sexual abuse by staff, as informed by applicable law, including the School Safety Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018.

During SY 19-20 we will also be clarifying reporting obligations under Title IX and issuing new policy guidance on preventing and addressing student-on-student sexual harassment, sexual assault, and dating violence. Guidance related to sexual misconduct and sex-based discrimination is currently also included as part of DCPS’ grievance and bullying policies. The creation of this new stand-alone policy provides an opportunity for DCPS to build upon that guidance in a way that creates comprehensive and clear expectations for all stakeholders.

Student Safety Task Force

In order to engage families around the implementation of sexual misconduct policies and protocols, as well as student sexual health curricula, DC Public Schools has established a citywide task force. For more information, read the Student Safety Task Force overview.

Staff Clearances

All DCPS employees pass a robust clearance process including fingerprinting and an FBI background check prior to receiving an offer letter and reporting to work. DCPS employees are then required to renew their clearance every two years per DC Municipal Regulations. However, a review of the clearance status of all DCPS employees and partners in summer 2019 found that DCPS staff members and DCPS partners are not consistently in compliance with our clearance requirements.

To remedy this situation we are directing additional financial and personnel resources to fingerprint and complete background checks on all employees with expired clearances as soon as possible. In this work, we are prioritizing clearances for staff who work most directly with our students for the start of the school year and are setting clear goals for 100 percent compliance.

Download an overview of our SY19-20 Prioritizing Student Safety Systems Improvement work plan.

Download an overview of progress to date (as of 11/01/19) of the SY19-20 Prioritizing Student Safety Systems Improvement Work Plan.

Policies for DCPS School Program Providers

DCPS defines a School Program Provider (SPP) as an organization that offers a program directly to DCPS schools and/or students; requires collaboration directly with DCPS schools, and works with students or schools 3 or more times per year. All School Program Providers must be vetted and approved by Central Office every three years. Providers enter a formal agreement with DCPS, which includes a requirement for all program staff and volunteers to be cleared through the DCPS clearance process. Any complaints about a School Program Provider should be directed to your school principal. Inquires can also be sent to the School Partnerships Team at [email protected].

Incident Response

Even with strong leadership and purposeful planning, every system or organization experiences incidents in which a human or structural failure results in an event which causes loss or harm to one or more individuals. In the case that these incidents occur, it is important to have a structured approach to reviewing the incident so that remedies can be identified to repair harm and the leadership can leverage lessons learned in order to strengthen the system and mitigate future risks. DCPS incident response guidelines support a robust risk assessment and incident response process that helps DCPS meet these goals. All partner organizations are also required to report incidents to their school-based and Central Office-based contacts.

Resources for Families and Educators

Questions?

  • For general, school, or student-specific inquiries and concerns from parents, students, school staff, and community stakeholders, please contact the DCPS Office of Integrity.
  • For claims of discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying, or any unfair treatment, please review DCPS' grievance process.
  • For additional resources for school program providers, please vist DCPS partner resources.