"School climate has a real and lasting effect on a student's ability to learn. Nothing is more important than our students' safety, and preparation is one of the first and most important steps a school can take in creating a more positive school climate."
- State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
All California public schools are required to develop a comprehensive school safety plan, per California Education Code sections 32280-89. The plans will deal with issues ranging from bullying to disaster preparedness.
California Education Code Section 32286 requires each school site to review and update its school safety plan by March 1 of each year. These plans must have policies that deal with crime, safety, child abuse reporting procedures, disaster preparedness, emergency shelters, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying, hate crimes, toxic substances, and more.
In recent years, the emphasis on the importance of including mental health programs in school safety plans has increased. School safety planning committees or site councils are encouraged to work together with county mental health programs and providers to develop policies to refer children who may have mental health issues to the appropriate services. This type of partnership between families and communities can help address the mental health needs of students as a strategy in school safety planning.