Virginia School Safety Survey - List of Terms and Definitions

Administration/Faculty/Staff List

Some questions on the survey refer to school administration, school faculty and/or school staff. When responding to these questions, please use the following definitions for each group:

Administration: superintendent, principal, assistant principal, office/administrative staff, disciplinary staff

Faculty: teachers, counselor/guidance counselor, substitute teachers, teacher assistants

Staff: bus drivers, food service, janitorial, maintenance, nurse/student health, student activities/athletics, school resource officer (SRO), school security officer (SSO), paid officer from outside/private security agency


Virginia Code § 22.1-276.01: "Bullying" means any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. "Bullying" includes cyber bullying. "Bullying" does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict. (


An emergency is any event or situation that forces school closure or schedule changes, or that directly threatens the safety or well-being of any students, faculty, staff, or members of the community and requires immediate action for resolution. Examples include severe weather, loss of utilities, bomb threats or terrorist acts, violent crime, release of hazardous materials, and others, and need not occur on school property.

Fall membership enrollment number

As defined by the Virginia Department of Education (DOE), this is the number of students enrolled in public school on September 30th of a given year. Each school in Virginia that officially enrolls students (i.e. student records are maintained on a Virginia Teacher's Register or automated system) submits their fall membership enrollment number to DOE on an annual basis.

Excluded from the September 30th count are: special education preschool pupils, pupils in hospitals, clinics or detention homes, and local programs such as vocational and alternative education centers (i.e., centers or schools which receive, but do not officially enroll students).

More information about the fall membership enrollment number is available on the Virginia Department of Education's website at


The Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety uses a different definition for a “school” than the Virginia Department of Education due to the nature of the school safety audit requirement. For the purposes of a “school safety audit” the VCSCS uses the following definition:

"A school is any separate physical structure that houses and instructs public school students on a daily basis."

Therefore, regional, alternative, governor’s schools, head start, preschool facilities, and others that are not physically part of another public school building, are required to complete a school safety survey, regardless of where the enrollment of its students is housed.

School Resource Officer (SRO)

A certified law-enforcement officer employed by the local law enforcement agency that provides law-enforcement and security services to a Virginia public school.

School Security Officer (SSO)

An individual who is employed by the local school board for the singular purpose of maintaining order and discipline, preventing crime, investigating violations of school board policies, and detaining students violating the law or school board policies on school property or at school-sponsored events and who is responsible solely for ensuring the safety, security, and welfare of all students, faculty, staff, and visitors in the assigned school.

Student Threat Assessment and Response Report

Successful management of a threatening situation can require substantial time and effort. Management of these situations comprises three related functions:

1. controlling/containing the situation and/or student in a way that will prevent the possibility of an attack;
2. protecting and aiding possible targets to the extent possible; and
3. providing support and guidance to help the student deal successfully with his or her problems.

If it is determined that the student poses a threat of violence, the threat assessment team shall develop, implement, and monitor an individualized plan to intervene and reduce the threat. The individualized plan is to be documented in the Student Threat Assessment and Response Report.

Additional information from monitoring and any re-assessment are to be documented in the Student Threat Assessment and Response Report Update to be submitted at least every 30 days until the case is resolved. Resolution of the case is to be documented in the Verification of Case Closure portion of the Student Threat Assessment and Response Report.

Threat Assessment

In a school setting, a threat assessment is conducted when a person (or persons) threatens to commit a violent act, or engages in behavior that suggests that they might act violently. This systematic assessment examines the nature of the threat and the circumstances surrounding the threat, in order to evaluate the seriousness of the threat and probability that the threat will be carried out. More information about threat assessments is available from the Virginia Youth Violence Project's website, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia at