Check Your Checklist

Kacie Kefgen

By Kacie Kefgen, MASB Assistant Director of Labor Relations and Legal Services

DashBoard, Aug. 16, 2017

With the start of school just around the corner, districts are moving full speed ahead to be ready when students and staff return for the fall. Here are a few items that districts should double-check are on their to-do lists before the school year starts. This is not an exhaustive list, but it includes items that may be either new or easily overlooked.

Seclusion and Restraint Policy and Training—Before the start of this 2017-2018 school year, school boards are required to adopt and implement a seclusion and restraint policy that is consistent with the state’s policy. All school personnel who have regular contact with students must have awareness training on these policies, and key personnel who may use emergency seclusion or restraint must have more detailed training. The training must be approved by the Michigan Department of Education. Remember that substitute teachers must also be informed of and understand the procedures regarding the use of emergency seclusion and restraint.

Student Discipline Policy and Training—As of Aug. 1, schools have new student discipline requirements and procedures to implement. Most significantly, districts must show that the officials who impose suspension or expulsion for certain offenses considered certain factors. This would include teachers who issue snap suspensions. It is critical that school staff, including teachers, are trained to implement the district’s updated policies on student discipline and know how to document their consideration of prediscipline factors.

Safety Drill Schedule—Make sure that your safety drill schedule complies with the number and timing of the drills required by state law. Also note that the district must notify the county emergency management coordinator of scheduled drills no later than Sept. 15.

Cardiac Emergency Response Plan—Districts are required to review and evaluate their cardiac emergency response plans on a yearly basis. Back-to-school season may be the best time to ensure that your plans are up-to-date.

Directory Information Opt-Out Forms—In addition to long-standing requirements, state law now requires that school districts develop a list of uses for which a school will disclose directory information. Districts must distribute a form that includes a list of directory information uses and allows parents to opt-out of including their students’ information in district disclosures of directory information.

If you have questions about these or other legal requirements for the upcoming school year, please call MASB’s Legal Team at 517.327.5900, or contact your district’s legal counsel.

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