K-12 School Safety and Security Audit Toolkit
2.2 Conducting K-12 Safety and Security Audits
The full audit process for one facility may take two or more working days. 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 present. Audits should be avoided during times where the schedule is severely altered or during special testing days. During the course of the audit, team members should follow the K-12 District Facility Safety and Security Audit Checklist to ensure all components of the audit are addressed. Team members may assess additional components, which can be determined locally. Conducting a safety and security audit of a facility consists of surveying students, teachers, staff, and parents, an intruder assessment, an onsite visit, and a document review.
K-12 District Facility Safety and Security Audit Checklist
The K-12 District Facility Safety and Security Audit Checklist is a series of excel spreadsheets that provides guidance through the audit process. The first section of the checklist identifies the various sections available and assists in tracking the percent of completion of each section based on the number of statements that have been completed. The next three sections allow for demographics, results of the intruder assessment, and risk factors to be documented. The remaining spreadsheets are designed to guide the audit team through a variety of different facility types while providing a format for evaluating and recording data from the observations. Each of the spreadsheets contains a set of statements as a basis for the audit. However, these statements are not all- inclusive and certain facilities may require additional evaluation statements. Districts should add additional statements to the audit checklist as needed. In addition, some of the statements provided may not be applicable to some facilities. The K-12 District Facility Safety and Security Audit Checklist contains the following facility types:
- School/Instructional campus
- Natatorium/Aquatics Centers
- Special Event Centers
- Construction Worksite
Surveys (or interviews) should be provided to students, teachers, staff, and parents in advance of any onsite visit/assessment. If possible, it is recommended that surveys/interviews be conducted several weeks ahead of time. Results of the surveys/interviews should be summarized before the onsite visit to help determine safety needs of the campus. They should also be included in the audit report.
Data Collection Instruments
The TxSSC has developed a variety of data collection instruments that can be used to gather information from various individuals during a safety and security audit. The instruments include a survey for teachers/staff members, a survey for elementary school students, and interview questions for office staff, nurse, counselor, staff members, and teachers. Questions can be added, deleted, or altered to fit the districts data collection needs.
One or more members of the audit team (not known at the facility) should conduct an Intruder Assessment. This assessment should be unscheduled without the facility staff being aware of the assessment. It is suggested a member of the law enforcement jurisdiction and a district representative be notified of the assessment in the event the school, facility, district, or community call in response to the intruder. The Intruder Assessment consists of documenting the date and time of the assessment, accessible areas of the school, amount of time before intruder was observed or approached, and an assessment of visitor procedures in use at the school. The intruder should not resist action taken by the facility staff upon discovery and should be able to show documentation or permission from the district to conduct the assessment, if requested by the school or facility.
After the Intruder Assessment, the audit team should schedule an onsite visit with the principal or facility manager. In most cases, the onsite visit can be completed in one day. If the campus or facility is very large, activities may take longer than one day. If necessary, the audit team may divide into two sub-teams for some of the activities. It is recommended that multiple audit team members evaluate each section of the facility to provide a comprehensive and objective assessment. Team members should make every effort to minimize any disruption to the facility's normal activities. Onsite visit activities should consist of:
- An entrance conference with the principal or facility manager and other members of the campus safety team to allow review of survey results, discuss campus concerns, and ask/answer questions.
Conducting the Entrance Conference
The purpose of the entrance conference is to establish the context in which the school operates, determine the perceived level of safety among various users, and gather responses for portions of the K-12 District Facility Safety and Security Audit Checklist.
Suggested Questions for Entrance Conference
- What are the most pressing safety needs in your school?
- What safety activities does your school or facility do best?
- What safety topics are most important for training and staff development?
- What are the biggest barriers to improved safety measures?
- What other comments do you have regarding safety?
Information obtained from the entrance conference will be analyzed as part of the document review, which will take place later in the audit process. During that time, the audit team will review and ascertain how well the school is prepared to deal with everyday safety concerns as well as emergency situations.
- A walk-through and visual assessment of the buildings and grounds using the K-12 District Facility Safety and Security Audit Checklist. In addition, schedule a time to visit the facility when night lighting can be evaluated.
- An observation of transition between class periods, student and staff lunch periods, and general movement throughout the facility.
- An observation of dismissal of students from school and busy operational periods at non-instructional facilities such as buses arriving or leaving the transportation facility.
- A brief exit interview with the principal or facility manager to review the onsite visit.
Following the onsite portion of the audit, an examination of campus or facility information and documents should be conducted. The document review may be conducted at the campus, facility, or another location. During the document review, the entire audit team will meet to review documents provided by the school and the results of the onsite visit. Examination of campus or facility information and documents must include:
- Campus/facility Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), including campus/facility floor plans and site maps
- Student Code of Conduct and discipline data
- Information from entrance conference
- Data from school climate surveys
- Other school/facility policies and procedures
- Other pertinent information provided by school personnel
- The most recently completed district facility safety and security audit results, recommendations, and action plans
Comprehensive Documentation Review Checklist
The Comprehensive Documentation Review Checklist can be used to ensure that all documents were thoroughly reviewed during the document review stage of the audit process. However, this checklist is to be used as a guide and other documents and information may need to be considered based on the needs of the district/campus.