Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety
The Virginia Center for School & Campus Safety is dedicated to supporting our constituents in the K-12 environment through training, with resources and technical assistance, and by guiding best practices. One of the many important components for K-12 schools is Safety & Security – on this portion of the website visitors will find information on School Security Officers, the annual School Safety Audit, and other school safety topics.
Virginia Department of Education Division and School Safety
Maintaining a safe and secure school building involves planning in five major categories:
- Prevention – actions schools take to prevent an emergency incident
- Protection – steps taken to secure schools against manmade or natural disasters and acts of violence
- Mitigation – actions taken to eliminate or reduce the loss of property and life by lessening the impact of an emergency
- Response – steps taken to stabilize an emergency once it has occurred
- Recovery – actions taken to restore the learning environment
Emergency Operations Plans (EOP) are developed in collaboration with division administrators, school personnel, rescue personnel, firefighters, law enforcement, hospital personnel, counselors, psychologist, social workers, parents and other community stakeholders. Students and staff practice evacuating, locking-down and sheltering-in-place drills to ready themselves in case an incident occurs. Annually, data is collected and analyzed to improve building security and emergency plans.
The Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety collaborate to collect, analyze and disseminate data that can be used to update and improve EOP. Additionally, professional development and technical assistance opportunities, publications, and other resources are provided to assist school divisions and communities in sustaining safe school environments.
Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services: Virginia School Safety Audit Program
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.
Virginia School Safety Legislation
In 2018, the Police Foundation staff conducted a comprehensive public domain scan of state legislation from all 50 states and the District of Columbia related to the following aspects of school safety and security:
- facility security and assessment requirements;
- creation, and identification of roles and responsibilities for state school safety centers and school safety teams/committees;
- requirements for school administrators and faculty;
- allocation of funds for improving school safety and security; and
- all-hazards emergency planning and preparedness.
The Police Foundation also reviewed legislation and amendments passed by state legislatures and signed into law following the mass violence attacks at schools in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas. Seven states—Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island—officially codified new significant school safety and security laws that address at least one of the aspects mentioned above. The legislative review utilized open source research, and encompasses all legislation that was officially codified by September 11, 2018.