Higher Education Safety and Security Audit Toolkit
The current three year junior college district safety and security audit cycle began on September 1, 2018 and will end on August 31, 2021. Junior college district safety and security audits required by TEC 37.108 must be completed during that cycle.
A junior college district may begin their reporting of specified audit results to the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) following their receipt of the link to the district’s online Junior College Reporting Tool (JCARtool). The link to the tool will be emailed to the President/Chancellor and junior college district designee (if applicable) on April 2021. Responses to items in the tool must be submitted to the TxSSC by September 15, 2021.
The Texas Education Code §37.108 states: “At least once every three years, each public junior college district shall conduct a safety and security audit of the district's facilities. To the extent possible, a district shall follow safety and security audit procedures developed by the Texas School Safety Center or a comparable public or private entity”. While the term “audit” is included in TEC §37.108, the process was developed as an ongoing assessment of a district’s safety and security. Audits should be an ongoing process with the aim of identifying hazards, threats, and vulnerabilities that might pose a danger to life or property and/or may interfere with a safe, secure and healthy environment that is conducive to teaching and learning. Attention to safety and security should not be thought of as an annual or a once-every three year “audit” event. Districts are encouraged to integrate ongoing safety and security assessments into everyday activities. This includes planning, training, and drilling of emergency procedures.
In addition, the model safety and security audit procedures developed by the Texas School Safety Center are intended for use by districts to conduct a “self-assessment” of safety and security in their facilities (e.g. No “certified” auditors needed). Neither the Texas Education Code nor administrative rules require that school district personnel conducting the audit hold a specific certification. Therefore, districts should utilize their own personnel from various disciplines to conduct safety and security audits. The audits should be a team effort and include a cross-functional group of personnel and collaborative community partners (e.g. local first responders). The audit items should be distributed among the district employees whose jobs and daily functions lend themselves to natural observation of the safety and security features indicated in the audit toolkit that pertain to their area. For instance, Chemistry faculty might best be designated as the audit team members who assess hazards in the science labs and food service managers might best assess kitchen and dining hall hazards. In order to get a valid assessment of current safety and security conditions, audits should be conducted during district daily operations and when students are on campus.