High-Quality Multi-Hazard Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) Toolkit

1.1 Legal Requirements and Guidelines

Texas Education Code, Chapter 37

Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code is the most significant of all legislation relating to emergency management for districts. The table below identifies some subchapters of this law.

Subchapter Topic
37.0812(a) Active Shooter Policy
37.108 Emergency Operations Plan, Safety and Security Audits
37.108(a) Updating the EOP
37.108(a)(1) Training in Responding to an Emergency
37.108(a)(2) Emergency Communication, Communication Devices
37.108(a)(4) Drills and Exercises
37.108(f) Chain of Command, Physical and Psychological Safety, Portable Buildings, Disabilities, Notifications; Substitute Teachers, School Safety Committee
37.1081 Public Hearing on Multi-Hazard EOP, Noncompliance
37.1082 Multi-Hazard EOP Noncompliance, Appointment of Conservator or Board of Managers
37.109 School Safety and Security Committee
37.113 Notification Regarding Bomb Threat or Terroristic Threat
37.114 Drills and Exercises
37.115 Threat Assessment and Safety and Supporting Program and Team
37.207 Model Safety and Security Audit Procedure
37.2071 District Multi-Hazard EOP Review and Verification
37.2071(b) Submit EOP

Chapter 37.108 requires that each school district, open-enrollment charter school, and public junior college district adopt and implement a multi-hazard EOP.

The EOP should address:

  • The five phases of emergency management (prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery). The Basic Plan and each annex should address the five phases in the Actions by Phases of Emergency Management Section.
The 5 Phases of Emergency Management Approved Definitions
  • How all employees and substitute teachers will be trained in the implementation of the plan. The Basic Plan and each annex should address training in the Training and Exercise Section of each plan including:
    • How all employees and substitute teachers will have classroom access to communication devices during an emergency to communicate with emergency management agencies. Include in the Communications Annex in the Direction and Control section.
    • Steps to ensure substitute teachers have access to school campus buildings and materials to carry out duties during an emergency or a mandatory emergency drill. Outline steps in the Basic Plan.
  • The number and type of drills and exercises required by the district. Include as an appendix to the Basic Plan. Please reference the Texas Education Agency Commissioner’s rules on Texas Education Code 37.114.
  • Measures to ensure district communication infrastructure are adequate during an emergency. Include in the Communications Annex in the Administration and Support section.
  • Provisions for providing immediate notification to parents, guardians, and others in circumstances involving a significant threat to the health or safety of students. Include as an appendix to the Public Information Annex.
  • Measures to ensure coordination with appropriate response agencies. Include in the Direction and Control Annex.
  • A policy for responding to an active shooter emergency. Include as an appendix to the Law Enforcement Annex.
  • Provisions for addressing physical and psychological safety for responding to a natural disaster, active shooter or other dangerous scenarios. Include in the Health and Medical Annex in the Organization and Assignment Responsibilities section.
  • Provisions for supporting the psychological safety of students, employees, and the community during the response and recovery phase following a disaster or emergency. Included in the Health and Medical Annex. These provisions should:
    • Include those with disabilities and/or access and functional needs.
    • Align with best practice-based programs and research-based practices.
    • Include strategies for ensuring any required professional development training for suicide prevention and grief-informed and trauma-informed care is provided.
    • Include training on integrating psychological safety and suicide prevention strategies, such as psychological first aid.
    • Include training for district counselors and mental health professionals.

If applicable to your district, the EOP should address:

  • Planning and responding to a train derailment near a district school (1,000 yds). Include as an appendix to the HazMat Annex.
  • A policy for district property used as a polling place. Included as an appendix to the Law Enforcement Annex.
  • Provisions for ensuring the safety of students in portable buildings. Include as an appendix to the Evacuation Annex.

Chapter 37.109 states that districts must form a school safety and security committee. This committee must actively participate in developing and implementing emergency plans for campuses and other facilities. The committee must ensure site-specific plans align with the district EOP. The names of the members of the district’s school safety and security committee and the meeting dates of the preceding year shall be included in the EOP. School safety and security topics should be included as an appendix to the Mitigation Annex.

TxSSC School Safety and Security Committee Guidelines and FAQ's

Texas Government Code, Chapter 418

This chapter of the Texas Government Code identifies school districts in Texas as “local governmental entities.” As a local government entity, school districts are automatically included as a part of the Texas statewide mutual aid system, which is established to provide integrated statewide mutual aid response capability between local government entities without a written mutual aid agreement. The law also outlines how requests for assistance can be made by the school district.

Presidential and Homeland Security Policy Directives

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, several directives were issued to address emergency management and homeland security issues. The most notable are Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5: Management of Domestic Incidents.

Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness describes the nation’s approach to preparedness. The National Preparedness System led to the creation of the National Planning Framework which defined how communities, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and all levels of government can best work together during emergencies.

Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5: Management of Domestic Incidents enhanced the nation’s ability to manage domestic incidents by establishing a single, comprehensive national incident management system. The National Incident Management System (NIMS) and use of the Incident Command System (ICS) allows responders at all jurisdictional levels and across all disciplines to work together more effectively and efficiently.

NIMS Implementation Activities for Schools and Higher Ed Inst.

Other Legislation

The legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the subsequent statements of the Office of Civil Rights govern how schools address the population of Persons with Access and Functional Needs (PAFNs) when making emergency plans.

The planning team must ensure that students and district personnel with disabilities or access and functional needs are planned for in all phases of emergency management. Equal access and safety for individuals with disabilities should be addressed in all plans, however; the provisions can be included as an appendix in the Health and Medical Annex.

Licensure or certification requirements for certain district personnel dictate a specific scope of performance when responding to emergency situations. School nurses, psychologists, athletic trainers, occupational therapists, and others holding state or federal licensure or certification are affected by these requirements.

Federally supported programs, such as after-school care, Title I tutorials, and childcare programs, have specific safety assessment and emergency response metrics that must be met. State and federal regulations effect emergency management planning activities. Some of these regulations are listed below.

Other Statutes and Regulations:

  • Texas Government Code, Chapter 418
  • UIL Health and Safety Regulations
  • DFPS Daycare/Childcare Requirements (during and after school hour programs)
  • Good Samaritan Laws

Supported by:

  • School District Policies
  • Texas Unified School Safety and Security Standards
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Education; Office of Civil Rights

You must consider local and state regulations as you develop district plans. Developing response and recovery plans that address HIPAA, FERPA, UIL, state health and safety codes for AEDs in school buildings, swimming pool regulations, health department food inspections, local fire and building codes, and chemical delivery and storage regulations are the responsibility of the district and its campuses. It is essential to include stakeholders who are knowledgeable about the many applicable laws and regulations.

    For more information about Texas laws and regulations on safety and security, the TxSSC has created a separate toolkit linked below. This toolkit provides information on the laws covering a variety of topics that affect districts, including bullying, emergency management, safety and security audits, dating violence, school-based law enforcement, substance abuse, and social and cultural environments. (Note: The link below will open in a new tab.)

  • TxSSC School Safety Law Toolkit