The MEA worked hard to pass a law that provides greater protection to school employees when they experience dangerous behaviors from students while working at school. The current law requires the administrator and a union representative to review incidents when educators are subject to dangerous or unsafe behavior and requires the development of a plan to make sure the dangerous behavior is rectified.
MEA wants to ensure this law is followed properly, and wants to support members on this issue. On the following two pages you will find answers to common questions about the law and a clear outline on the proper procedures to follow.
About the Law
Q: What is the Dangerous Behavior Law?
A: The Dangerous Behavior law defines “Dangerous Behavior” as the “behavior” of a student that presents a risk of injury or harm to students or others.” If this behavior occurs in a school the law dictates that a process must be followed to protect educators and other students. (see process on next page)
Q: How does the law define Dangerous Behavior?
A: To be classified as Dangerous Behavior under the current law the behavior must come from a student and must present a risk of injury or harm. The behavior does not have to cause harm but does have to present the risk of harm and that harm can be to another student or to others, which includes educators.
Q: Who can file a Dangerous Behavior report?
A: Any educator who feels they are at risk of harm due to a student can file a Dangerous Behavior report.
Q: Does this law apply to all age groups, including Pre-K?
A: Yes, the law applies to students of all ages. If there is a risk of harm or injury, this law applies.
Filing a Dangerous Behavior Report
Q: Should the Dangerous Behavior Reporting form be its own form, or can it be implied through a Physical Restraint form?
A: Yes, a Dangerous Behavior Report should be its own form. (MEA has a sample form if your district does not yet have one.)
Q: Does a running log of dangerous behaviors sent to administration on a regular basis count as a report?
A: MEA advises that the Dangerous Behavior Reporting form be submitted for each behavior.
Q: Who should receive a copy of the report?
A: A union representative, the president of the local, the educator who filed the report, and administration should all receive a copy of the Dangerous Behavior Report.
How to Address the Dangerous Behavior After a Report is Filed
Q: Who reviews Dangerous Behavior reports?
A: The law states that the review must be made by an administrator and an assigned employee, who should be designated by your association’s president. If your president has not already designated someone in each school in your district, MEA encourages you to ask them.
Q: What happens after a report of Dangerous Behavior is substantiated?
A: The District is required to engage in the steps outlined in the law to develop a plan to address the Dangerous Behavior that will keep you and others safe.
Q: Who is involved in the process of developing a plan to address the Dangerous Behavior?
A: The law states that the administrator and the employee subjected to the behavior will develop a plan for the student to avoid future dangerous behaviors.
Q: Is there a time frame in which a plan to address the Dangerous Behavior must be made?
A: There are no prescribed timelines in the law to address the Dangerous Behavior.
Q: The law lists behavioral interventions as strategies that can be used. Are those the only methods allowed to be used to create a plan to address the Dangerous Behavior?
A: No, the interventions listed in the law are not a comprehensive list; other interventions can be used. Some intervention examples are listed on the next page. However, it is important to note that the plan developed should be based on the individual student’s needs.
Other Important Questions
Q: What about SPED students or students with IEPs?
A: This law does not take precedence over IDEA or any other law that covers these categories of students.
Q: What if the District is uncooperative or doesn’t acknowledge the Dangerous Behavior at the outset?
A: Look to your local Union leader and review your contract for a hook to file a grievance. Some collective bargaining agreements have relevant language, some don’t. Always contact your MEA representative for more support on the issue.
Q: I have endured Dangerous Behaviors that result in stress and anxiety. Is this considered harmful under the law?
A: The language in the law is broad, so if you feel a risk of potential harm and/or you are experiencing stress and anxiety from Dangerous Behaviors, you should file a report.