P. O. BOX 2120

October 31, 1997


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Richard T. LaPointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: School Safety Audits

  The General Assembly of Virginia approved HB 1851 on March
  20, 1997.  This House Bill amended the Code of Virginia by
  adding a section, numbered 22.1-278, which requires that all
  public schools in Virginia shall conduct a school safety
  audit.  It also requires the Superintendent of Public
  Instruction to develop a list of items to be reviewed and
  evaluated in the school safety audit.  Finally, this
  amendment states that local school boards may establish
  safety committees to conduct these safety audits.

  In accordance with section 22.1-278 of the Code of Virginia,
  the Department of Education has developed the attached
  document which fulfills the requirements of HB 1851 and
  includes a list of items to be reviewed and evaluated. 
  While the first component in this document meets the intent
  of Section (i), HB 1851, to provide for a safe and secure
  physical facility, it is advisable to use all the components
  included in this audit package for a comprehensive approach
  to safe school auditing. 

  The document provides protocols and procedures for school
  safety audits, recommendations for the structure and
  composition of school audit teams, a set of checklists
  developed to assist the audit team in conducting a school
  safety audit, and a form to certify completion of the audit. 
  All materials and information included in the document
  represent a thorough review of the literature and a
  compilation of best practices found in school safety

  The Department of Education is also preparing training
  videos for conducting school safety audits.  In addition, we
  are collaborating with the Department of Criminal Justice
  Services (DCJS) to set up a training schedule to provide
  technical assistance to local school divisions in conducting
  the school safety audits.

  The staff of the Department of Education are available to
  provide assistance that you may need in setting up safety
  committees, training personnel in conducting safety audits,
  or in any other way possible to help you meet the
  requirements of HB 1851.  Please contact Marsha Hubbard at
  (804) 225-2928, or Vijay Ramnarain at (804) 225-2035 if you
  have any questions with regards to this effort.


  Enclosure:   A hard copy of this memo and its enclosure
               will be sent to the superintendent's office.