All Head Start classrooms and regional offices will have crisis plans to deal with potentially violent situations.


  1. All sites will have a sign posted stating that weapons are not allowed on the premises.
  2. All sites and regional offices will have an agency-wide plan and a site-specific plan to follow when a potentially violent situation arises. The plan will include but not be limited to the following:
  3. Immediate notification to Regional Manager, Operations Director and Direct Service Teams and follow-up documentation of suspicious activity, threats and persons with violent history.
  4. Assessment of site security:
    1. Adequate lighting
    2. Multiple entrances and exits including designated windows
    3. Safe parking
    4. Adequate security for storage of petty cash or storage of fundraising money. All money other than petty cash must be deposited in bank within 24 hours
    5. Access to personnel on premises who could serve as back-up in an emergency such as school or church staff
    6. Designated person(s) to receive signal for calling 911.
      1. Signals could include: flashing lights, knocking on wall or floor a specified number of times, key phrase or hand signal.
      2. If signal attempt fails a backup plan should be utilized.
  5. Plan for moving children as far away from the intruder as possible without escalating the situation.
  6. Only one staff person should be communicating with the individual and others should stay within sight but move to the background of situation.
  7. Plan for attempting to keep a physical barrier (desk, table, chairs, cabinet, cubbies, etc.) between staff , children and violent individual.
  8. RM will report to Operations Director and Operations Director will report to Executive Director.
  9. Staff should have designated a place where families can re-unite following a crisis at the site. Prior arrangements for this should be made during site specific crisis plan updates.
  10. Crisis plans need to be updated yearly and all staff and parents informed.
  11. Staff will receive training or information about de-escalating violent individuals and Identification and Assessment of potentially Violent Individuals or Encounters (see Responding to Anger and Hostility).
  12. Following a crisis or potentially violent encounter staff will debrief with their R.M. or an available consultant and be offered assistance for dealing with any trauma through the Employee Assistance Program. The RM may contact a member of the Critical Response Team.
  13. Staff will not attempt to physically restrain individuals and when potential physical threats or intervention is needed 911 will be called.

This policy complies with Head Start Performance Standard 45 CFR Section 1304.22.
It was approved by Policy Council on October 14, 1997.
Updated August 6, 2001. July 8, 2002
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