School security is a national concern. Throughout the United States, youth crime and violence threaten to undermine the safety of our students' learning environment. Since the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) represents a cross-section of Americana, all partners in our community education process must understand and support the principles underlying a safe and secure learning environment as applied to creating a safe school. The underlying principles all relate to student rights to a safe and secure learning environment free from the threat or fear of physical violence; free from drugs, alcohol, weapons and other prohibited items; free from hazing, bullying or intimidation; and free from gang or criminal activity.
The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) follows guidance for the Department of Defense and also issues instructions and policies concerning our schools. DoDEA Regulation 2051.1, Disciplinary Rules and Procedures April 4, 2008 outlines student conduct expectations and disciplinary consequences that may be invoked when the conduct of a student poses an immediate threat to his/her safety or the safety of others in the school. These student conduct expectations apply to student conduct that is:
- related to a school activity while on school property
- while en route between school and home, to include school buses
- during lunch period
- during or while going to or coming from all school-sponsored events/activities that affect the missions or operations of the school or district including field trips, sporting events, stadium assemblies, and evening school-related activities.
Violence, threats of violence, prohibited items, gang or criminal behavior, and bullying or intimidation will not be tolerated. Perpetrating a bomb threat or complicity in the act is grounds for expulsion. Additionally, local military regulations and laws may authorize criminal prosecution for such actions. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all community education partners – students, parents, military leaders, administrators, faculty and staff – to understand the serious nature of actions violating the principle student freedoms and the scope of authority over infractions as outlined in The DoDEA Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. The administration at each school is responsible for the management of student behavior.
DoDEA has mandated that any and all school personnel report suspected child abuse and neglect (DoDEA Regulation 2050.9).
- The regulation (2050.9) defines child abuse/neglect as: Physical injury, sexual maltreatment, emotional maltreatment, deprivation of necessities, or combinations for a child by an individual responsible for the child's welfare under circumstances indicating that the child's welfare is harmed or threatened.
- For further clarification outside of the DoDEA regulation, "negligent treatment" means the failure to provide, for reasons other than poverty, adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care so as to seriously endanger the physical health of the child (42 USC Sec.13031).
- Neglect also includes unattended or inadequate supervision of minors and chronic deprivation of educational opportunities.
- The term [child abuse/neglect] encompasses both acts and omissions on the part of a responsible person.
- A "child" is a person under 18 years of age for whom a parent, guardian, foster parent, caretaker, employee of a residential facility, or any staff person providing out-of-home care is legally responsible. The term "child" means a natural child, adopted child, stepchild, foster child, or ward.
- The term [child abuse/neglect] also includes an individual of any age who is incapable for self-support because of a mental or physical incapacity and for whom treatment in a Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) is authorized.
Our primary responsibility and concern must be for the safety and welfare of the child. The national mandate to prevent child abuse is so strong that school officials can be charged if they fail to report a suspected case of child abuse. Therefore, any and all suspected cases of child abuse/neglect are to be reported to the appropriate authorities.
Our ethical and mandated responsibilities in the DDESS system require all staff members to report suspected cases to the appropriate school administrator and to the base or post Family Advocacy Program*(FAP). The FAP management team, composed of the military installation's medical, legal, law enforcement and social work staff, is responsible for determining if child abuse/neglect has occurred and provide appropriate services for the child and family.
Note: Individual military branches and/or installations may have additional reporting requirements, processes, or procedures. These additional responsibilities do not however, relieve a DDESS employee from their duty to report suspected abuse to their appropriate school administrator and their Family Advocacy Program (FAP).