Ensuring Student Safety at OSD
The top priority of all staff at the Oregon School for the Deaf (OSD) is to ensure the safety of students. Every person is responsible for making OSD a safe, secure environment. The Leadership Team is responsible for setting the expectations, providing Program Guidelines, and planning and implementing training/support for staff in all departments.
Policies, Procedures and Training (Proactive Efforts)
At the start of each school year, all staff receive training related to child abuse. The training consists of the requirements of recognizing abuse, being a mandatory reporter, and OSD's Program Guideline for reporting abuse. In September 1999, Detectives Oja and Lujan from the Oregon State Police (OSP) spoke with staff at OSD regarding abuse and reporting procedures. Each staff person received a copy of the Program Guideline and the booklet entitled, "What You Can Do About Child Abuse, A Guide for Mandatory Reporters." In September 2000, all staff again received a copy of the Program Guideline and an additional copy of the booklet if necessary. On an annual basis, the Director maintains a record (sign in sheet) to ensure all staff attend a training meeting, receive the Program Guideline, and understand they are responsible for acting on this information.
Linked are PDF copies of the following Program Guidelines relating to safety and security:
- Behavior Management & Classroom Management (13KB)
- Campus Security (12KB)
- Child Abuse Reporting (17KB)
- Corporal Punishment (14KB)
- Criminal History Checks (13KB)
- Harassment (23KB)
- ID Badges (18KB)
- Incident Reporting (13KB)
- Persons "Under the Influence" (12KB)
- Reporting of Students' Sexual Incidents (12KB)
- Rights of Non-Custodial Parent (15KB)
- Self Abuse/Suicide (35KB)
- Signing Out and In for Homegoing (15KB)
- Threats (12KB)
- Visitors (12KB)
- Weapons (12KB)
OSD has two handbooks that provide information, guidelines and ongoing support to staff, parents and students. They are the Student/Parent Handbook and the Staff Handbook, each book containing pertinent information to their respective areas. These handbooks are reviewed and updated annually or biennially.
Intake Protocol: In order for a student to be placed at OSD, a meeting occurs which includes, minimally, the following participants: school district representative, regional program representative, OSD administrator, parent, and student (if appropriate). In addition to a student's academic, communication, social and emotional needs being discussed, attention is given to behavioral history. A student with identified aggressive sexual issues is not considered for placement in the residential program at OSD unless the school district agrees to provide a level of supervision and support that ensures both the new student and the other students will be safe.
Consultation and Support: OSD has two guidance counselors and a school psychologist. In addition, we contract with a community counselor who specializes in therapy with adolescents who have sexual issues. This additional expertise provides students with therapy targeted to meet their needs. The community counselor also participates in placement meetings when sexual issues are discussed, providing us with greater ability to assess the risks and make appropriate decisions about the student's ability to participate in a residential setting successfully and safely.
Criminal History Checks: All employees and volunteers must successfully pass a criminal history background check before being hired and allowed to work with students. Volunteers, practicum students, and interns, prior to being allowed to work, complete a Criminal History Verification of Applicants form. The form is processed and results received before work begins. Individuals hired to work as employees are subject to the fingerprint law. This process allows for nationwide criminal background checks to be done. The process is completed and results received before the employee begins work.
Identification Badges: All staff and volunteers are required to wear personalized photo identification badges at all times during their work shifts, whether on or off campus.
Security Systems: OSD has a security system in each of the two residence halls that allows evening and overnight staff to monitor all exits of each building. This is a visual as well as auditory system. Night Supervisors in each residence hall make bed checks of students throughout the night. These checks are to be made in a random pattern with no more than thirty minutes between any two intervals. A minimum of nineteen bed checks must be completed between 11:30 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. nightly. In addition, OSD security staff patrols the campus grounds from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. daily and on weekends.
Visitor Protocol: A process is in place for visitors to sign in and receive identification during the school day or after school/evening. Guidelines for visitors are found in the education, parent and residential handbooks. The guidelines are reviewed with staff annually.
Supervision of Overnight Staff: To ensure supervisors working in the residence halls overnight have access to supervision and support, the Director, Dean of Student Life, and two residence hall supervisors make "drop in" visits during the night on a rotating basis.
Parent Involvement: Parents are welcomed and encouraged to be involved in all aspects of their child's lives. They are encouraged to visit classes, drop in to the dorm announced or unannounced, and to feel they have access to any activity on campus at any time. Through the OSD Parent Association and in monthly newsletters to parents, they are repeatedly offered opportunities to provide input on safety, to express concerns, and to participate in evaluating the schools practices and procedures.
Inclement Weather Notice: When there are delays in starting school or closures in other school districts due to weather, OSD is still in session. This is because we have a residential component and many students are already on campus. We honor the start times and closures of other districts; however, and want our day students to remain at home if necessary.
Please call OSD (phone: 503-378-3825 or videophone: 503-400-6180) to have your student's absence excused if your student stays home. Our most important consideration is your student's and family's safety. Please do not bring your students in if there are any concerns about weather. We will help your student catch up when s/he returns to school.
Please remember to contact your individual school district's transportation office to let them know not to come pick up your student if your student stays home or you drive your student to school.
In the event behaviors or situations occur that are inappropriate or illegal, procedures are in place for reporting and addressing them.
- Serious Incident Report (SIR): The SIR form includes a summary of the observed or reported behavior and the commensurate follow-up required to address it. Parent contacts are documented, as are communications with the student's school district representative.
- Oregon State Police (OSP): All suspected or known cases of abuse are reported, as per Oregon state law and our Program Guideline, to OSP. In addition, any suspected, alleged or known acts of an illegal or criminal nature are reported to OSP. Once a report is made to OSP, the investigation is in the hands of the State Police.
- Counseling: Support is available for students from two guidance counselors, a school psychologist, contract counselors including a person specializing in sexual issues, or by community mental health professionals. Counseling for students with behavioral, emotional, disciplinary or sexual issues is provided in three ways: 1) as follow-up to a serious incident with specific interventions targeted; 2) as part of the Individual Education Program (IEP); or 3) as needed.
- IEP Requirements: Repetitious or serious behaviors are reviewed within the student's IEP team. This is required by law in order to determine if the needed supports are in place to allow the student to be successful. Decisions may be made by the team regarding the need for additional supervision, counseling, modifications to the student's program, a change in placement or other such actions as appropriate.
- Peer Mediation: OSD has a program to train high school students to be peer mediators. This allows students to seek support and problem-solving assistance when the behaviors are of a more minor nature.
- Harassment Procedures: In November 1999, OSD instituted a Program Guideline related to Harassment. Students are trained in the meaning of the term "harassment," and in how to be responsible reporters. The process involves students self-reporting harassment they experience from others. Follow-up counseling and education is provided. In the event harassment continues, the student's supervisor determines consequences.
For any questions or information, contact:
E-mail: Colleen Carson