School Safety and Security Audit Toolkit

1.1 Overview of the School Safety and Security Audit Process

The following district audit procedures are general steps in the model safety and security audit process for authorized district personnel. These steps are discussed in more detail throughout the toolkit. (Updated: March 2020)

  1. Establish the Audit Team(s): The TxSSC recommends selecting a cross-functional team of school personnel and collaborative partners for the Audit team. It is important to assess how many teams you need, what facilities each team will be responsible for auditing, and what dates the audits will take place. It is crucial to begin establishing Audit teams early as possible in the three-year cycle, especially if multiple teams will be needed.

  2. Preparing Audit Team Members: Once Audit teams have been established, it is time to develop and communicate the responsibilities that each team role will entail. This includes determining what documents and sections of a facility will be audited by each team member and how to properly document the audit for writing the report. It is important to develop and communicate an inclusive list of audit dates to all team members, especially if team members are responsible for auditing multiple facilities. Remember to prepare and distribute materials needed to conduct an Audit—audit checklist, maps, clipboards, pen/pencil, cameras, playground inspection kits, etc. Again, this should occur early as possible in the three-year cycle.

  3. Schedule and Conduct the Intruder Assessment: When scheduling the intruder assessment, be sure to obtain authorization from district administration. It is recommended to notify local law enforcement that serves the facility of the intruder assessment, while ensuring school-based law enforcement and staff at the audited site are unaware. Select 1-2 individuals not known to the school or facility to serve as intruders. The intruder(s) need to develop a plausible story to access the facility without causing panic and do so in a non-aggressive manner, such as trying to enter from the back of the facility and walking their way to the front office. If your district has several facilities, it may be necessary to select multiple intruders to conduct intruder assessments, which will require communication with multiple police jurisdictions.

  4. Schedule the On-Site Audits (Instructional and Non-instructional Facilities): Schedule the on-site Audits with the facility administrator or their designee before the Audit. At the time of scheduling, be sure to communicate the list of items the Audit team will need to complete the Audit. Items to include are all facility-based documents that will be reviewed, keys and access cards to access the entire facility, and a place for the audit team to meet privately.

  5. Conduct the On-Site Audit: Conduct an entrance conference to introduce the Audit team to the principal or facility manager, and other present staff. Concerns and strengths expressed in the entrance conference should be addressed in the audit report. Continue the on-site Audit with a document review of pertinent school-based documents that reveal day-to-day safety and security operations and policies of the facility. Documents to include, but are not limited to:

    • District Emergency Operations Plan, including:
      • Hazard Specific Annexes for the audited facility
      • Appendices for the audited facility
    • Student Handbook
    • Staff Handbook
    • Campus Discipline Data
    • Campus Improvement Plan
    • Survey and Interview Results-Student, Staff, Parent, and Community
    • Previous Audit Reports to review completed and in-progress upgrades

    The TxSSC recommends using the Audit Checklist to ensure all four parts of the facility are audited with detail—interior, exterior, climate and culture, and operations data and documents. Conduct an exit conference with the school principal or facility manager and selected staff to share preliminary audit results with school administration. This is an opportunity to share commendations and to address any safety and security issues that require immediate attention.

    Lastly, write the internal audit report for the facility. Be sure to include the completed Audit checklist, photos, observations, survey results, and any other information that was gathered during the on-site audit. Share the report with the school principal or facility administration, so that it may be used in developing improvement plans and to assist in the completion of the DARtool.

  6. Write the District Audit Report: Collect all facility Audit reports and organize them by function or area into the district’s predetermined reporting format. Be sure to include commendations and recommendations; identified improvements prioritized by importance of safety and security to staff, students, and property; and potential costs of improvement for each area.

  7. Review the District Audit Report: Submit the District Audit report to the district’s school safety and security committee to review the audit report for accurate and complete information about each facility. After the school safety and security committee has reviewed, then submit the District Audit report to school board or board of trustees. Based on Government Code 551.076, TxSSC recommends districts share Audit findings in a closed session to protect vulnerabilities and develop improvement plans. TxSSC also recommends that districts check with their legal counsel before releasing information that may expose vulnerabilities or put safety and security at risk. Lastly, ensure the superintendent and the district’s board of trustees to sign the District Audit Report.

  8. Submit the Audit Report to the TxSSC: A link to the District Audit Report tool will be emailed to the superintendent and their designee in April of the last year of the audit cycle. August 31 is the deadline for district audit completion, and the final date to submit the completed DARtool to the TxSSC is September 15. Please note: the District Audit Report tool is not a substitute for a comprehensive three-year safety and security audit of district facilities. Additionally, the comprehensive District Audit Report, individual Facility Audit Reports, and any other documents or photographs reviewed or collected during the Basic Safety and Security Comprehensive Audit process should be kept in the event the TxSSC asks to review your District Audit.

  9. Tracking Approved Changes: Ensure that improvement plans based on audit findings are carried out and communicated with all stakeholders, as approved by the school board or district administration. This includes re-evaluating improvement plans at least annually to document how decisions are made and to report on progress.