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Do Iowa schools have to have safety and security plans?

Tragedy results if negligent security at school puts children at risk

Schools are one place where negligent security incidents may happen in Iowa.

Iowa school districts have the authority to develop school safety plans, and have a legal requirement to report anyone in possession of a dangerous weapon on school grounds to the authorities. However, the school board, superintendent, principal, teachers, and staff are under no obligation to share the specific school safety and security plan procedures that are in place with parents or other members of the public if doing so would compromise the effectiveness of the plan. Iowa Code 22.7 (50) allows government bodies and employees to keep information about security and emergency preparedness confidential if disclosure could be reasonably expected to jeopardize safety of employees, visitors, or others.

Thus, a school district might not want to share a vulnerability assessment with parents for fear that it could get into the wrong hands and allow someone with a weapon to take advantage of those vulnerabilities to hurt students and staff.

You Should Expect That Reasonable Security Procedures Will Be in Place—Even If You Don’t Know All of Them

Iowa schools have a responsibility to provide safe and secure learning environments for students. This includes taking reasonable measures to protect students from:

  • Criminals unaffiliated with the school. Procedures should be in place to provide reasonable protection from school shooters and others.
  • Abuse by teachers or staff. Hiring and supervision procedures should be in place to protect students from sexual and physical abuse by school employees.
  • Other safety threats.

If your child is injured in an Iowa school, or if you are hurt yourself, then you may have the right to recover damages in a negligent security case. However, you will have to take specific actions to settle your case or to pursue a lawsuit in an Iowa court.

For more information about how to do that, and about how to protect your rights, we encourage you to contact our experienced lawyers directly via this website. We would be pleased to provide you with a free consultation so that you can make an informed decision about how to protect your child’s claim, or your own, after a negligent security incident at an Iowa school.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham