The current three-year school district safety and security audit cycle began on September 1, 2017 and will end on August 31, 2020. School district safety and security audits required by Texas Education Code (TEC) 37.108 must be completed during that cycle.

A school district may begin the reporting of specified audit results to the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) following the superintendent’s or their designee’s receipt of the link to the district’s online District Audit Reporting Tool (DARtool). This tool will be emailed to superintendents and designees in April of 2020 and must be submitted to the TxSSC by September 15, 2020. (Note: the 2020 reporting deadline has been extended to November 15, 2020 due to COVID-19.)

The newly established open-enrollment charter school safety and security audit cycle began on September 1, 2019 and will end on August 31, 2022. Charter school audits must be completed during that cycle. Community Colleges (Junior College Districts) have their own audit toolkit and reporting cycle. Visit the TxSSC website for more information on community college audits.

In this toolkit, “district” or “school district” refers to both school districts and open-enrollment charter schools. Junior college districts may also be referred to as “districts” when citing statutes, however this toolkit is designed for school districts and charter schools as there is a Higher Education Safety and Security Audit Toolkit on the TxSSC website to address junior college safety and security audits.

The Texas Education Code 37.108 states:

Sec. 37.108(b) At least once every three years, each school district or 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 person included in the registry established by the Texas School Safety Center under Section 37.2091.

While the term “audit” is included in TEC 37.108, the process developed by the TxSSC was designed as a self-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 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 event. Districts are encouraged to integrate ongoing safety and security assessments into everyday activities, including planning, training, and drilling of emergency procedures.

While state statute requires that at least once every three years, an audit of district facilities be conducted, safety and security may be enhanced by implementing ongoing identification and improvements. These proactive measures to make continual improvements should also make the three-year reporting more effective.

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