School Safety and Security Audit Toolkit
1.2 Establishing and Training a School Safety and Security Audit Team
The Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) recommends that districts conduct safety and security audits using their own staff in collaboration with community partners (for example, local first responders and other subject matter experts). Neither the Texas Education Code nor administrative rules require that school district personnel conducting the audit hold a specific certification, nor is there any recognized safety and security auditor certification program. The TxSSC has developed an online safety and security audit course that can be found here: sslp.txssc.txstate.edu/.
Districts may utilize their own personnel from various disciplines to conduct safety and security audits. Members of the audit team should receive training on their role in the district’s audit process. The audit team should include a cross-functional group of school personnel and collaborative community partners (e.g. local first responders). Audit team members with expertise or experience in the areas they are assessing will greatly enhance the assessment.
Use of district and local partners helps develop a sense of ownership throughout the district, school, and community, which is an essential component to maintaining safe schools and facilities. Each district should create teams to conduct audits of their facilities. A team approach provides increased objectivity while the school benefits from expertise by a variety of individuals. In addition, the team approach allows the opportunity for multiple staff members to participate in the process of improving safety and security within district facilities.
The audit team should represent stakeholders including, but not limited to, school safety and security committee members, administrators, teachers, nurses, counselors, law enforcement personnel, maintenance personnel, custodial personnel, transportation, and other district support personnel. The size of audit teams may vary depending on the number and complexity of the facilities. Generally, teams of three to six persons are optimum for most districts. Multiple safety audit teams may need to be created based on the number of district facilities being audited.
Team members should be carefully selected to ensure the objectivity and accuracy of the audit process. Consider the qualities of each potential member. Audit team members should be observant, detail oriented, and able to accurately articulate their findings. It is important to select members that have the ability to work as a team and interact professionally with all district and facility staff. Members will have the responsibility to keep audit findings confidential and make recommendations and commendations for the audit report.
As the district safety and security committee plays such an important role in developing and monitoring school safety and emergency management practices, committee members should be a part of the audit process which includes participating in the review of the district emergency operations plan and reviewing any reports submitted to the TxSSC.