UPPER DARBY — Four updated policies and one new policy, all regarding school safety, were adopted by the Upper Darby School Board on Tuesday night.
Unanimous approval of the policies changed their language on school-related safety matters as applied to the 14 school buildings. The updates conform with state laws.
Policy 705 (facilities and workplace safety) has updated language for better clarity and removes fire and safety drill language because that is addressed in district policy 805.
Policy 709 (building security) includes the delegation of responsibilities to the district’s director of public safety and not the legally defined title of school safety and security coordinator and clarity about each building having one main entrance after the start of the school day.
Policy 805 (emergency preparedness) is being “substantially revised” to provide definitions for school security drill and school safety and security assessment, updates for emergency planning, and for the district to provide mandatory training in at least seven different areas.
Policy 805.1 (relations with law enforcement agencies) will allow officers from local police department to participate in district training relate to subjects to enhance the understanding of and build positive relationships with students.
and Policy 805.2 (school security personnel) is a new policy that leaves only school security guards as security personnel in the district (definitions for school resource officer and school police officer have been removed because the district does not employ them), and leaves in language that school security personnel shall carry weapon if authorized by the board.
Pertaining to Policy 805.2, the board has not yet authorized any school personnel to carry firearms for security purposes. Such a policy to allow it has yet to be entertained by the board since it last came up for a vote in October 2018 but was then pulled from the agenda at the last minute reportedly to clean up the policy’s language. Board member David Neill commented on the potential to arm security under Policy 805.2 at the board’s Dec. 18 committee meeting, but had no further comment Tuesday night.
A sixth policy, 333 (professional development), was also passed with updated language, and while not strictly pertaining to school safety, it aligns with a national effort to push mental health awareness in the age of mass killings at schools. Policy 333 allows one-hour of required training for trauma-informed care to certified administrative and professional employees.
No school board member had a comment on the policies before their adoption.