Virginia School Safety Audit Program
The Code of Virginia requires that all schools in Virginia complete an annual safety audit. The audit is a
“written assessment of the safety conditions in each public school to (i) identify and if necessary, develop solutions for physical safety concerns, including building security issues and (ii) identify and evaluate any patterns of student safety concerns occurring on school property or at school sponsored events. Solutions and responses shall include recommendations for structural adjustments, changes in school safety procedures, and revisions to the school board’s standards for student conduct.”
The Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety is tasked with developing a list of items (see below) to be reviewed and evaluated in the school safety audits. To assist in this process, the Center for School and Campus Safety developed a template for schools, once completed, the template should be sent to the Division Level Safety Audit Committee for review. It is recommended this be completed by December 31 of each year. Pursuant to VA Code § 2.2-3705.2 (7), schools may exclude security plans and specific vulnerability assessments from disclosure to the public.
At the division level, the superintendent shall establish a school safety audit committee to include, if available, representatives of parents, teachers, local law-enforcement, emergency services agencies, local community services boards, and judicial and public safety personnel. The school safety audit committee shall review the completed school safety audits and submit any plans, as needed, for improving school safety to the division superintendent for submission to the local school board. To assist in this process, the Center for School and Campus Safety developed a template for the audit committee, once completed, the committee should forward its’ recommendations to the Superintendent/and or school board. Pursuant to VA Code § 2.2-3705.2 (7), schools may exclude security plans and specific vulnerability assessments from disclosure to the public.
Beginning in August 2017, Superintendent’s will certify the completion of all school audits via the DCJS survey manager.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, all public schools are required to conduct an annual school safety audit in order to assess school safety conditions. Through enabling legislation (legislation (§ 9.1-184), the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety (VCSCS) has been designated to collect, analyze, and disseminate various Virginia school safety data including school safety audit information. In 2005, the General Assembly transferred the authority to collect school safety audit information from the Department of Education to the Department of Criminal Justice Services. To date, the VCSCS has developed five components for the school safety audit program:
- Virginia School Safety Survey (annually)
- The Division Level Survey (administered as needed)
- Virginia School Crisis Management Plan Review and Certification(annually)
- Virginia Secondary School Climate Survey (administered in the Spring)
- The School Safety Inspection Checklist (due Fall 2017)
1) Virginia School Safety Survey
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, all public schools are required through legislation to conduct an annual school safety audit in order to assess school safety conditions. As a means for collecting individual school safety audit information, the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety (VCSCS) annually administers the Virginia School Safety Survey. View the Virginia School Safety Survey homepage for information.
2) Division Level Survey
The Division Level Survey is administered every third year, or as needed, to capture information from the division level on policy changes and division level practices. The Division Level Survey will be administered in 2016.
3) Virginia Crisis Management Plan Review and Certification
Amended Virginia Code § 22.1-279.8 requires Virginia’s public school boards to annually review the written school crisis, emergency management, and medical emergency response plans of each school it supervises. Superintendents shall certify this review no later than August 31 of each year.
The 2013 General Assembly passed legislation requiring schools to provide copies of such plans to the chief law-enforcement officer, the fire chief, the chief emergency medical services official, and the emergency management official of the locality. View the Crisis Management Plan and Certification page for more information.
4) Virginia Secondary School Climate Survey
The Virginia Secondary School Climate Survey School Safety Study will provide schools with information on school climate and safety conditions in order to maintain a safe and orderly school environment conducive to learning. This survey of students and teachers will be administered in alternating years in grades 7 and 8 one year and then grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 the next year. The survey in grades 7 and 8 begins in the spring of 2013 and continued in the spring of 2015. The survey of grades 9-12 occurred in Spring 2014 and will again be conducted in Spring 2016. View the Virginia Secondary School Climate Survey page for more information.
5) School Safety Inspection Checklist
Changes to the Code of Virginia from the 2013 General Assembly added a requirement for schools to conduct a school inspection walkthrough using a checklist provided by the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety. Download a fillable checklist here. View the Guidance for use of the School Safety Inspection Checklist here.
The 2007 Virginia School Safety Survey, DCJS Criminal Justice Research Center, 2007 (.pdf, 68 pages)
The 2006 Virginia School Safety Survey, DCJS Criminal Justice Research Center, 2006 (.pdf, 64 pages)
The 2005 Virginia School Safety Survey, DCJS Criminal Justice Research Center, 2005 (.pdf, 44 pages)
Review of Virginia School Safety Audit Reporting: Final Report, DCJS Criminal Justice Research Center, 2004 (.pdf, 34 pages)
Review of Virginia School Safety Audit Reporting: Final Report, DCJS Criminal Justice Research Center, 2003 (.pdf, 41 pages)
2013 Secondary School Climate Survey Report