Asheville City Schools strives to create a safe, orderly, caring and inviting school environment to facilitate student learning and achievement. The safety of our students, staff and visitors are of utmost importance, and the ability to prepare for and respond to emergency situations is an essential part of providing a safe environment. Plans and procedures required to mitigate, prepare for, and respond to emergency situations are detailed in the Asheville City Schools Comprehensive Safe School Plan and in our Emergency Operations Plan.
The Asheville City Schools Comprehensive Safe School Plan brings together the elements of school safety to help meet our goal of providing a safe and orderly learning environment. It provides the structure to implement appropriate strategies for creating and maintaining a safe learning environment and provides guidance for the development of a School Risk Management Plan for each school. It also provides general district-wide guidance regarding school safety and covers a broad scope of activities, including safety policies and procedures, bullying and harassment, school discipline, and policies for school suspensions and expulsion.
The Asheville City Schools Emergency Operations Plan provides direction and guidance during emergency situations. Its purpose is to identify and support the actions of school personnel when responding to incidents. This includes man-made hazards, natural disasters and/or technological failures. Training and practices of the Emergency Operations Plan occur on a regular basis. Asheville City Schools uses the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) when responding to emergencies. NIMS provides a systematic approach to incident management and assists personnel responding by delineating their roles and responsibilities. The ICS provides a framework which allows responders from multiple agencies to communicate, using common terminology, and to coordinate emergency response. Roles and responsibilities are detailed in an organization chart that can expand or contract depending upon the situation.
Communication during an emergency will be provided by the Incident Commander or by the Public Information Officer. Information on the situation and any updates will be provided to staff through the phone system, school public address system, electronic devices and/or meetings or debriefings. Communication to parents/guardians will be through the automated calling system and to the general public through the Public Information Officer.
Asheville City Schools provides additional focus and support for school safety through the Crisis Response Teams, the District-Wide Safety Team and the School Improvement Teams. There is a Crisis Response Team for each school and also for Central Services. Team functions are defined by NIMS and have a primary and at least one backup staff member assigned to each position.
The District Safety Team members include representatives from the Asheville Police Department, Asheville Fire Department, the Public Health Department, teachers, school and district leadership. Each School Improvement Team includes school administration, teachers, assistant teachers, parents and staff.