Safety and Climate

The physical and mental safety of our students, staff, and families is always be our top priority in the Worcester Public Schools (WPS).

WPS takes a proactive approach to ensuring safety and positive school climates. The district operates from a safety framework with clear protocols, procedures, and a common language to ensure a systematic and organized response to any situation.

The WPS Safety Office focuses on the physical safety of students, staff, visitors, and facilities, and works closely with the Office of Culture and Climate, which focuses on student behavior and discipline matters, mental health, and shares proactive behavioral coaching strategies with schools.

Safety Office

Matt Morse

Matt Morse, Ed.D.

Director of Safety

115 Northeast Cutoff
Worcester, MA 01606
Email Matt

Dr. Morse is responsible for supporting schools and sites with safety planning, crisis management, crisis response teams, crossing guard training, drills, and supporting schools with safety infrastructure needs.  He is a liaison between schools, the Worcester Police Department, Worcester Fire Department, and Worcester Emergency Management. He regularly response to actual or potential emergency situations at schools, working closely with school and district leadership.

Culture and Climate Office

Tom Toney

Tom Toney

Administrative Director of Positive Youth Development

20 Irving Street
Worcester, MA 01609
Email Tom

Mr. Toney is responsible for matters relating to safety and discipline issues within the student cohort. He is responsible for the Safety Center and connects schools with the Worcester Police Department’s School Liaison Officers on matters relating to supporting students. Mr. Toney also oversees the district's Culture and Climate Coaches, School Adjustment Counselors, and supports for students experiencing homelessness.

Standard Response Protocol

The WPS Standard Response Safety Protocol follows the I Love You Guys Foundation school safety framework, which uses easy-to-understand language to assist school staff and families in an emergency. 

  • Hold: Stay in your classroom and keep the hallways clear, but instruction can continue.

  • Secure: Exterior doors to the school are locked, and outdoor activities are halted, but classroom instruction can continue.

  • Lockdown: Students and staff are ordered to lock their classroom or office doors and to stay out of sight.

  • Evacuate: People are moved from one location to a different location either inside or outside the building.

  • Shelter: There is a significant threat. Students/staff are ordered to lock doors, hide, and barricade rooms if necessary.

  • Reunify: Gather at a designated location following the incident.

Images of text showing the Standard Response Protocol: Hold, secure, lockdown, evacuate, shelter, reunify

Online Safety Resources

Protect against online threats and risks. Teach children about internet safety and stay involved in their digital world.

Children and adolescents are spending more time online than ever before, and technology is ingrained in almost every facet of their lives. Today’s youth strongly depend on digital devices and online forums, like social media and gaming platforms, to seek immediate connections or gratification. The need for connectivity, acceptance, or sense of belonging can drive children’s overall needs and online activities and behaviors. 

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Animated image of a computer and cell phone