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Virginia School Safety Audit Program

Authority

In 2013, new requirements were added to the Safety Audit Process according to the Code of Virginia §22.1-279.8 (School safety audits and school crisis and emergency management plans required) and §9.1-184 (Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety created; duties) according to House Bill 2346 (http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?131+ful+CHAP0609) which is effective as of July 1, 2013:

  • The Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety, in consultation with the Department of Education, shall develop a list of items to be reviewed and evaluated in the school safety audits required by this section. Such items shall include those incidents reported to school authorities pursuant to § 22.1-279.3:1 and shall include a school inspection walk-through using a standardized checklist provided by the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety, which shall incorporate crime prevention through environmental design principles.
  • Each local school board shall require all schools under its supervisory control to annually conduct school safety audits as defined in this section and consistent with such list.
  • The local school board shall retain authority to withhold or limit the release of any security plans, walk-through checklists, and specific vulnerability assessment components as provided in subdivision 7 of § 2.2-3705.2. The completed walk-through checklist shall be made available upon request to the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality or his designee. Each school shall maintain a copy of the school safety audit, which may exclude such security plans, walk-through checklists, and vulnerability assessment components, within the office of the school principal and shall make a copy of such report available for review upon written request.
  • Each school shall submit a copy of its school safety audit to the relevant school division superintendent. The division superintendent shall collate and submit all such school safety audits, in the prescribed format and manner of submission, to the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety and shall make available upon request to the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality the results of such audits.
  • The division 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.
  • Each school board shall ensure that every school that it supervises shall develop a written school crisis, emergency management, and medical emergency response plan, consistent with the definition provided in this section, and shall 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. Each school division shall designate an emergency manager. The Department of Education and the Virginia Center for School Safety shall provide technical assistance to the school divisions of the Commonwealth in the development of the school crisis, emergency management, and medical emergency response plans that describe the components of a medical emergency response plan developed in coordination with local emergency medical services providers, the training of school personnel and students to respond to a life-threatening emergency, and the equipment required for this emergency response. The local school board shall annually review the written school crisis, emergency management, and medical emergency response plans. The local school board shall have the authority to withhold or limit the review of any security plans and specific vulnerability assessment components as provided in subdivision 7 of § 2.2-3705.2. The local school division superintendent shall certify this review in writing to the Virginia Center on School Safety no later than August 31 of each year.
  • Upon consultation with local school boards, division superintendents, the Virginia Center for School Safety, and the Coordinator of Emergency Management, the Board of Education shall develop, and may revise as it deems necessary, a model school crisis, emergency management, and medical emergency response plan for the purpose of assisting the public schools in Virginia in developing viable, effective crisis, emergency management, and medical emergency response plans. Such model shall set forth recommended effective procedures and means by which parents can contact the relevant school or school division regarding the location and safety of their school children and by which school officials may contact parents, with parental approval, during a critical event or emergency.

Description

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 every three years)
  • Virginia School Crisis Management Plan Review and Certification Certification (annually)
  • Virginia Secondary School Climate Survey (administered in the Spring for the next three years)
  • The School Safety Inspection Checklist (due August 2014, then every three years thereafter)

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 to capture information from the division level on policy changes and division level practices. The Division Level Survey will be administered in 2014.

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. The survey of grades 9, 10, and 11 will occur in Spring 2014.  Climate reports on the 2012-2013 school year will be available to schools in July 2013. 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. To certify your Division's completion of the checklist, log into the Survey Manager.

Reports/Publications

Contact Information

Donna Michaelis
804.371.6506

Shellie Mackenzie
804.225.1863

Jessica Smith
804.786.5367

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