Setting The Scene
Some of my most terrifying moments as a former school administrator were when we could not locate a student. Whether a student decided to sneak out of the school or not, until we had some sort of proof that them leaving without permission was unpreventable, situations like these caused me to stop whatever I was doing to support my administrative team in locating the student. Knowing each student’s whereabouts was our first job.
It would have been even more terrifying to release a student to the wrong individual. In this situation, only our negligence could be blamed. The number of dangerous scenarios that this type of oversight could lead to are numerous. Think a public relations nightmare, large student supervision lawsuit and liability insurance claim, and/or, worst case scenario, a student being injured.
This blog will outline how we can prevent, or at least do everything in our power to prevent, a student being released with/to the wrong person.
Updated Emergency Contact Information
Now that you’ve updated each of your students’ emergency contact information, what do you do with the information? An imperative place to use this information is in your “Student Sign-Out Procedure”.
Student Sign-Out Procedure
A sign-out procedure that only allows a student to only be released to an individual on the student’s emergency contact list is critical to maintaining student safety. Nothing can send a parent and school leadership team into crisis mode faster than a student being released to an improper individual. Here are some characteristics of an excellent student sign-out procedure:
- Maintain an Updated Emergency Contact List – See previous article.
- Ask for Photo Identification – If no photo identification, ask for another form (such as a credit card). If you are still unsure about the individual’s identity, call the primary emergency contact to confirm.
- Sign-Out Sheet – A sign out sheet should include: 1) Student Name; 2) Contact Name; 3) Purpose for Leaving Early; and 4) Time Leaving – At the end of the week/month, scan and save this information in a safe space and start a fresh sheet/form.
- Double-Check – If something does not “feel” right about a student being released early, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Politely inform the individual checking the student out that the school’s procedure is to confirm an early dismissal with the primary emergency contact (usually the parent/guardian).
- Call an Administrator – Still not sure about a student being released to an appropriate person? Instruct the receptionist or administrative assistant to defer the final decision to an administrator.
About the Author
Chad Miller spent six years in public education. During those six years, he was fortunate to get a wide breadth of experience. He taught for two years, was an Assistant Principal for two years, and finally a Principal for the last two years. In his second year as a teacher, Chad was voted “Teacher of the Year” at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School.
Chad holds a Bachelor’s degree in Middle-Secondary Education from Butler University, a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Marian University, and Masters of Education in School Leadership from Columbia University.
After the 2014-2015 academic year, Chad decided to pursue his entrepreneurial spirit and open a branch of his family’s growing independent insurance agency in Indianapolis, Indiana. Chad remains passionate about education, and enjoys when he can combine his former career with his risk management and insurance career. He has created the Insurance Lesson Plan – risk management and insuring process specifically for schools.
Miller Insurance Group and Keystone Insurers Group are the endorsed employee medical and non-medical benefits and property and casualty insurance provider for the Network for Quality Education.
Chad can be reached at (317) 869-9180 or firstname.lastname@example.org.