Safe Schools

St. Francis of Assisi School is committed to providing a safe and healthy school environment for its students and staff. There are several policies and protocols in place to ensure your child’s safety and wellness while attending school. Please see below to familiarize yourself with our various guidelines and procedures.

Police Protocol – Search and Seizures

At the commencement of each school term, principals shall provide notice of the right and authority of the school to search school property such as lockers, desks, etc. without notice to or permission of any person in accordance with school board policies and procedures. Personal property such as knapsacks, purses, etc. may become subject to search in accordance with school board policies and procedures.  Principals and vice principals will conduct searches under the authority of the Education Act in accordance with school board policies and procedures. If the Principal/Vice Principal has reason to believe there is a safety risk to the Principal/Vice Principal or others, the Police may be called to attend to ensure the safety of all parties. Unless circumstances merit, Police cannot take part in the school’s search, nor shall Police provide any direction to the Principal or Vice Principal in relation to the school’s search. (Halton Regional Police School Protocol, 2016).  You can read the entire police protocol here:  Halton Regional Police School Protocol

Life-Threatening Medical Concerns

Parents and caregivers of children with life-threatening medical concerns/allergies, such as Anaphylaxis, Allergies, Diabetes and Asthma are reminded that in order to provide a safe environment for your child, we must receive updated and accurate medical information. Please notify the school and complete/update an Emergency Medications Protocol prior to September and return it to the school as soon as possible. Forms will be provided to you from the office and will be distributed as per the HCDSB protocol. For any other medical complications, request the appropriate form from the office.

As a school, we can never guarantee an allergen free environment, but we have strategies in place to provide a “minimized allergen environment.   One of those strategies is to remind parents, guardians and caregivers to kindly ensure that you send your child to school with peanut-free/nut-free food products to school. For this same reason, we cannot accept treats for birthdays or celebrations and monitor this very closely. We also do not allow any food or drinks on the playground for the protection of all children, especially those with allergies to bees.

RE:  Look-A-Like Products to Peanut Butter

The school board kindly requests that parents not send their children to school with look-a-like products to peanut butter.  These products claim to be so close in smell, taste and texture to peanut butter, that it is nearly impossible for students and staff to distinguish between a look-a-like product and authentic peanut butter.  We appreciate your cooperation in keeping the look-a-like products at home and preventing a mix-up of the two products, where the results could be life-threatening.

REMINDER: All medications and Epi-Pens must be secured in the main office, as well as a second Epi-Pen which is concealed in a hip pack on the student.

Halton Catholic District School Board Anaphylaxis Protocol: http://www.hcdsb.org/Parents/safeandhealthy/Medical/Pages/Anaphylaxis.aspx

Priority Food Allergens Ingredient List:

Please review the following list to learn more about the priority food allergens:

Priority Food Allergens Ingredients Lists

No Child Without

Started in 2006, No Child Without is a charitable program that offers children with medical conditions or allergies access to free MedicAlert protection at no cost to families. To join, the child needs to attend a participating public or Catholic school within Canada.

This lifesaving program provides free service plan coverage and a free MedicAlert medical
ID for students that live with a medical condition, between the ages of 4 to 14 years old. The
MedicAlert ID speaks for these students in an emergency, for various medical conditions,
such as allergies, asthma, heart conditions and others.

To learn more, please visit www.medicalert.ca

Medications

We cannot dispense medication of any kind unless we have signed authorization by the parent, directions to be followed, and medication provided in a properly labelled container stored in a clear zip-lock bag. For safety reasons, students should not have medication at school without following the above outlined procedures. Should your child require medication to be administered at school, please contact the office for the appropriate forms. The only exception to this requirement is for children who must carry medication because of life-threatening allergies.

Kiss and Ride Procedures

The following procedures are in place for the safety of all students:

School Parking Lot

  • Is for staff members and visitors who will be parking and entering the school.  Parents/guardians are not to park or drive-through this area before or after school;
  • Will be used for the loading and unloading of bus students;
  • Staff will be supervising bus arrivals only.

Sinclair Avenue Road

No staff will be supervising this area. If you choose to drop your child off at this location, it is the responsibility of all parents/guardians to monitor your child’s safe progress to the school playground.

Duncan Street

Kiss and Ride supervision will take place here. One staff member will supervise the area:

  • This is a safe place for students to be dropped off on the school side of the road. There is a sidewalk here which leads to the playground. Please do not have your child get out of your car on the side opposite the school;
  • Remind your child not cross any road without using the crossing guard;
  • Parents / guardians are not to park in this area and walk with their child to the playground. This is a drop off area only.

School Security/Visitor Protocol

All elementary schools in the HCDSB have implemented the front door buzzer and security camera protocol. In order to gain entry to the school during the regular school day, we require that visitors and volunteers enter through the front doors of the school by buzzing into the office, whereupon you will be asked your name and reason for your visit. Office staff will then activate the door and permit your access. We ask that you proceed to the office to sign in and collect a visitor’s badge.

Please note that signing in does not provide general admission to visit classrooms or other school locations. Such permission is obtained through a teacher and/or school administration, classes will not be interrupted except for family emergency situations. Help us to keep interruptions to your child’s and other students’ programs to a minimum. Co-coordinating lunches, changes to pick up information or other changes to your child’s regular routine should be organized prior to school entry, where possible.

Parents are asked to bid your children farewell and pick up children at the fenced areas. Only students and staff are to be in the schoolyard. Please remember that to another child, you are a stranger. Please note that dogs and other animals are not permitted in the school yard area at any time. The excitement of the children or the bell ringing can frighten dogs as well as lead to high anxiety levels for many of our students.

Volunteers

Volunteers are required to have on file at the school a current Criminal Reference Check with a Vulnerable Sector Screening before they can volunteer at any school. If you have a Criminal Reference Check on file, you are required to fill out and sign a Declaration on an annual basis.

Emergency Response

At St. Francis of Assisi School, the safety and well-being of our students is our highest priority. Although we hope that an incident that requires response from emergency personnel will never occur in our school, we must be prepared to respond quickly and effectively in case it does. The goal of the Halton Police/School Board Protocol is to ensure a rapid, coordinated and effective response is possible when an emergency occurs.

In accordance with this protocol, each year our school must conduct rehearsals or drills. These rehearsals are important in ensuring that staff and students are prepared in the event of a real emergency. While our school has been conducting fire drills and lockdown rehearsals for the last several years, we are now also required to conduct bomb threat drills.

When possible, these drills are planned ahead of time, and advance notice and reminder of the drills will be shared with staff so that students may be appropriately prepared for a successful drill. To learn more about the Halton Police/School Board Protocol, please go to: Halton Police / School Board Protocol.

Fire Safety

Bright yellow signs in all areas of the school indicate the closest and alternate exits in case of a fire. There will be three fire drills held in the fall term and three in the spring term. Students will leave the building as instructed following an Emergency Evacuation Plan approved by the Halton Hills Fire Department. Your child must wear shoes at all times while in the school so that in the event that the school must be evacuated their feet will be protected.

Lock Down / Hold and Secure / Shelter in Place

St. Francis of Assisi has developed a Lock Down / Hold and Secure / Shelter in Place procedure that is practiced twice per year – once in the fall and once in the spring. The students remain in an instructional area until lock down is completed and the location and safety of all students is verified.

  • A Lockdown is a response to an emergency situation inside a school or an emergency situation on or very near to school property, wherein the evacuation of the school building is not safe;
  • Hold and Secure is a response to an emergency situation in the general vicinity of a school, but not on or very near to school property.  During a Hold and Secure situation, students, staff and visitors are considered to be safe inside the school building, however,  no one is permitted to enter or exit the school building, once this has occurred;
  • Shelter in Place is a procedure used during hazardous environmental or weather related situations where it is necessary to keep all occupants within the school to protect them from an external situation at or near the school;
Bomb Threat

A Bomb Threat is any conveyance of a message that is designated to warn and/or alarm people to an impending detonation of an explosive or incendiary device to cause damage, death or injuries, whether or not such a device actually exists.  St. Francis of Assisi School follows police and board protocol when developing a bomb threat response plan.  This plan is also practiced twice per year.

School Emergency Closure

When emergency conditions exist, such as inclement weather, school plant shutdown due to heating failure, etc., the health and safety of our children is our prime consideration. Notification of school closure during winter storms, etc. will be on the Halton Catholic District School Board website (www.hcdsb.org), HSTS website (www.haltonbus.ca), television/radio, and when possible, by the School Connects email system commencing at 6:30 am.

If for some reason there is an early school closing, your child will be dismissed in the manner you have indicated on the Emergency School Closure Form. If you do NOT submit an Emergency School Closure Form to the school, your child will not be released until you arrive.

Inclement Weather

As per Halton Catholic District School Board Procedure No. VI-39, the following websites are considered official source for temperature related facts:

The principal or designate shall make local decisions regarding the safety of staff and students during potential inclement weather conditions.

Extreme Cold – With or Without Windchill
  • Warmer than -15 degrees Celsius:  students may remain outside for all activities
  • Between -15 and -20 degrees Celsius:  students may remain outside for no longer that 20 minute intervals
  • Colder than -20 degrees Celsius:  students must remain inside
Extreme Heat – With or Without Humidex
  • Cooler than 35 degrees Celsius:  students may remain outside for all activities
  • Between 35 and 40 degrees Celsius:  students may remain outside for no longer that 20 minute intervals
  • Warmer than 40 degrees Celsius:  students must remain inside

Weather warnings issued by Environment Canada such as thunderstorm/lightning, tornado, etc. are also taken into consideration when ensuring student safety.  The principal or designate shall always err on the side of caution.   The full HCDSB Procedure No. VI-39 can be viewed here.

HCDSB AdministratorSafe Schools