K-12 School Safety and Security Audit Toolkit
1.0 K-12 Audit Reporting
Texas Education Code §37.108 states: “A school district shall report the results of the safety and security audit conducted under Subsection (b) to the district’s Board of Trustees and, in the manner required by the Texas School Safety Center, to the Texas School Safety Center”. However, Chapter 37.108 provides no additional guidance regarding reporting to the district’s Board of Trustees. Given that the safety and security audit period ends on August 31 of each three year cycle, it is assumed that the district, if not presented prior to end of the audit period, will get the item on the board agenda for presentation as soon as possible following the audit or end of the audit period; however, there is no statutory guidance as to a time frame for reporting to the board. With this in mind, the online Audit Reporting Tool asks for an anticipated date for presentation if the district had not presented it at the time of the submission.
It is important for a district’s Board of Trustees to understand the challenges and accomplishments of ongoing efforts to improve safety and security and to remain prepared for any type of emergency. Following an audit, a district level report or presentation should be created to share the results of the audit. The decision of what to report and how to report it to the board in a meaningful way, is determined by the needs of that district. Smaller districts may be able to provide a brief summary by school, campus, or facility, while larger districts may wish to either create a summary or utilize a copy of the answers the district provided to the TxSSC in their required submission. A copy of the district’s submission may be printed from the reporting tool as part of the online submission process.
Presentation of the audit results to the district’s Board of Trustees may be conducted in a closed session. As these reports may contain specific vulnerabilities of a school, facility or district, it is important to limit the sharing of this information. Documentation of the date when the audit information has been presented to the board should be retained to be able show compliance. While it may be challenging to compress safety and security audit results into a report or presentation, the communication about the status of safety and security within a district is essential to successful district leadership. In addition, as hazards are identified that might pose a danger to lives or property, the Board of Trustees should be notified in a timely fashion, in accordance with local district guidelines.
One of the duties of the district Safety and Security Committee is to review each report submitted by the district to the TxSSC in an effort to ensure accurate and complete information is submitted in accordance with the criteria established by the TxSSC. A list of specific audit result questions will be provided by the TxSSC in the spring of each reporting year. Districts will have until September 15 of the reporting year to submit specific information to the TxSSC using an on-line reporting system. Actual audit results should be retained by each district for use in improving safety and security in the district facilities.
Audits should focus on the identification of facility hazards, access control procedures, Emergency Operations Plan, drills and exercises, and school climate. Data collected from the audits should be used to assess the safety and security of a district’s facilities and address any concerns that may have been discovered. In addition, data should be reflected in the district Multi-Hazard Emergency Operations Plan.
The District Audit Reporting Tool (DARtool) is currently open.
A school district may begin their reporting of specified audit results to the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) following receipt of the link to the district’s online District Audit Reporting Tool (DARtool). This link to the DARtool was emailed to superintendents and their designee (if applicable) on April 4, 2017. The DARtool must be completed and submitted to the TxSSC by September 15, 2017.