Playing It Safe in Secondary School Athletic Programs

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School Business Affairs, Vol: 73, Issue: 6

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Dolph, David Alan
Association of School Business Officials International; eCommons
Educational Administration and Supervision; Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research; Educational Leadership; Education Economics; Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration; Higher Education Administration; Other Educational Administration and Supervision; Special Education Administration; Urban Education
article description
School business officials play a critical role in ensuring that district assets are protected and that students and staff have a safe environment in which to learn and work. In their role as risk managers, school business officials work closely with the board of education and fellow administrators to identify and track potential risks, develop plans to mitigate those risks, and perform regular risk assessments to determine how risks have changed.Some risks are inherent in all school systems. For example, students on the playground, buses on the roads, chemicals in the science labs, even food in the cafeteria pose some kind of risk, yet they are part of the daily operations of a school.Another area that is common to most schools and can pose a threat to the health and safety of students and adults alike is the athletic program in secondary schools. The general belief that participation in interscholastic athletic programs is a positive component of a well-rounded education has contributed to the increase in sports programming offered at the secondary school level, and that has, in turn, increased the possibility of injuries, liability claims, and litigation. Thus, it is essential that school business officials develop programs, policies, and procedures that help the school system anticipate and manage risk.In their book Risk Management Manual for Sport and Recreation Organizations, Ian McGregor and Joseph MacDonald (2002) identify four key areas of risk management: people (athletes, coaches, and fans), facilities and equipment, policies and procedures, and the emergency response plan. This brief article examines risk management as it relates to facilities used for middle-level and high school athletic programs.