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What Schools Need to Know About Security Compliance

Article

During the past few months, state regulatory agencies issued mandates designed to make schools more secure. The Fund put together this overview of recent and long-standing mandates our members need to know about. We’ll update this article as necessary to keep you up to date.

Time-sensitive mandates

A handful of mandates issued between June and August came with fast-approaching compliance deadlines.

Comply with the targeted audit

The Texas Education Agency directed schools to complete a targeted audit before the fall semester. By September 9, you should have responded to a Texas School Safety Center survey verifying that you completed all required activities.

More information

Visit the Texas Education Agency to read about the targeted audit.

Submit emergency response plans for review

School districts must have submitted their emergency operations plan (EOP), active threat annex, and active shooter appendix to the Texas School Safety Center (TXSSC) for review by October 12.

More information

Fund resources

TASB Legal Services: Adopting and Implementing a Multihazard Emergency Operations Plan

TXSSC resources

Recent mandates that extend throughout the school year

Two recent initiatives are designed to limit access to your campuses. Intruder detection audits and weekly door checks should be on your list of compliance action items this school year at minimum.

Participate in random intruder detection audits

The Texas School Safety Center (TXSSC) will coordinate with education service centers to conduct random intruder detection audits. All districts will be inspected by December 2022. By May 2023, 75 percent of all campuses will be inspected.

What to expect

Random audits will be friendly. Inspectors will notify superintendents and primary law enforcement contacts in advance and explain that they will not simulate an intrusion:

  • Inspectors will try to enter facilities through unlocked exterior doors. If they enter a facility, they will immediately go to the front office and ask for staff to help check exterior doors.
  • You must show documentation that you are conducting weekly exterior door sweeps mandated this summer (see below).
  • Inspectors will make sure classroom doors are locked if required under your district’s policy.
  • If inspectors find your district noncompliant, you will be required to submit a corrective action plan.

More information

This TXSSC on-demand webinar for superintendents takes a deep dive into intruder detection audits.

Inspect exterior doors

Once a week, every campus must document that it is conducting regular and frequent inspection sweeps of the external doors to each instructional facility, making sure they close, latch, and lock properly.

Overview

  • During intruder detection audits, the campus must show documentation that they are conducting weekly exterior door sweeps.
  • The Texas Education Agency (TEA) offers exterior door sweep tools for campuses and districts.  
  • You don’t have to use the TEA tools, but you do have to document weekly sweeps.

More information

Download this TEA webinar slide deck for more information about door sweeps.

Ongoing mandates

School security has been a priority during recent legislative sessions. Your organization should comply with these requirements year-round.

Establish a school safety and security committee

Texas Education Code Chapter 37.109 requires each district to establish a safety and security committee based on Texas School Safety Center (TXSSC) guidelines.

Overview

Safety and security committees must:

  • Include representatives from your district and local emergency management agencies
  • Meet at least once each semester and once in the summer, unless your schools are in session year-round
  • Fulfill specific responsibilities, such as helping develop an emergency operations plan and annexes

More information

Create an emergency operations plan

All Texas schools and junior colleges must develop an all-hazards emergency operations plan (EOP) and  hazard-specific and functional annexes, including an active threat annex.

Overview

  • Your EOP must address five emergency management phases: prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
  • Include specific activities, such as emergency drills and employee training, in your EOP.
  • Your plan must meet the needs of the whole community, including those with access and functional needs.
  • Review your EOP annually and revise it at least every three years.
  • Share a summary of your EOP on request.

More information

Fund resources

TASB Legal Services: Adopting and Implementing a Multihazard Emergency Operations Plan

TXSSC resources

Hold emergency response drills

Your EOP must provide for employee emergency response training and mandatory school drills and exercises. Districts should consult their fire marshal or local authority having jurisdiction to ensure compliance with local requirements.

Overview

  • The law clarifies how many drills of each type must be held, but note that the Texas Education Agency is revising those rules. We will update this article with the new requirements.
  • Districts cannot exceed eight drills each semester or 16 drills for the school year.
  • If there is no local fire code, you must follow these fire drill requirements.

More information

Fund article: Unpacking New Safety Drill Regulations

TXSSC resources:

Conduct safety and security audits

At least once every three years, school districts and community colleges must conduct a safety and security audit of their facilities. The audit is a self-assessment designed to identify best practices and improvement opportunities.

Overview

  • The next K-12 audit is scheduled for 2023. Charter schools are scheduled for 2024, and community colleges are scheduled 2025.
  • You must report audit results to your board of trustees and the TXSSC.
  • Your board and superintendent must approve the report.

More information

  • TXSSC: Safety and Security Audit Toolkits for K-12 and Higher Ed

Create threat assessment teams

School threat assessment teams help prevent tragedy by supporting individuals who show signs of harming themselves, others, or both. The team’s primary purpose is to develop and implement a safe and supportive school program at each campus.

Overview

  • One team can serve the district, or each campus can have its own team.
  • Include multi-disciplinary representation on the team.
  • Each team is required to complete training provided by the TXSSC or a regional education service center.

More information

Have Safety and Security or Emergency Management Questions? 

Members with Auto, Liability, Property, and Workers’ Compensation coverage can request training and support from Emergency Management and School Security Consultant Melanie Moss at 800-482-7276, x2868 or melanie.moss@tasb.org.

Risk Solutions Staff

The TASB risk solutions team includes risk solutions consultants and communications professionals who deliver training, consultations, articles, and resources that help Fund members control losses and their associated costs.

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