P. O. BOX 2120
April 22, 1999


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Governor Gilmore's Executive Memorandum Concerning School Safety Compliance Review
The tragic events in Littleton, Colorado have brought home 
to us once again that school safety has to be an ongoing 
priority.  Since the violence which took place in schools 
across the nation last summer, and especially after the 
shootings at Armstrong High School in Richmond, the State 
and local school divisions have moved forward to review 
existing school safety issues and identify and implement 
new procedures. In the wake of the violence which occurred 
at Columbine High School, the Governor has directed me to 
assure through your offices that each school principal has 
conducted a comprehensive school safety audit and achieved 
compliance with all laws and regulations of Virginia and 
the Board of Education concerning school safety. A report 
must be provided to the Secretary of Education within thirty
days.  A copy of the Executive Memorandum is attached.

This memorandum initiates my request for your review, 
provides the framework, and includes a certification form 
for submittal to the Department of Education by May 21, 

Specifically, you must assure that School Safety Audits 
have been conducted for each school in the division 
according to the guidelines and procedures provided by the 
Department, and that they are complete.  In addition, each 
school must have an adequate Crisis Management Plan.   The 
staff of each school should be aware of the school's audit 
and what it addresses. 

In addition, within the next five working days the 
following precautionary actions must be initiated: 

1. Each superintendent must review the Crisis Management 
Plan for each school in the division and ensure that it 
provides procedures for school personnel to follow during 
emergencies, including violent and threatening behavior, 
fire, injury, and illness.  The Crisis Management Plans 
must be adequate to protect the life and safety of 
students and school personnel. School personnel should 
know the policies, procedures, and responsibilities which 
are provided by the plan.  The Department's School Safety 
Audit Protocol, Procedures, and Checklists provides 
guidelines for a crisis plan.  In addition, the 
Department published the Resource Guide for Crisis 
Management in Schools to provide technical assistance in 
this area.  Another resource available from the 
Department is  Early Warning, Timely Response, A Guide to 
Safe Schools, published by the U.S. Department of 
Education.  If you need copies of these publications, 
contact the Department of Education's School Safety 
Resource Center (804) 225-2928.

2. Each school principal and local superintendent must 
immediately investigate any activities on school grounds 
that might indicate the formation or existence of gangs 
or gang-like activity.  I suggest that you consult with 
your local law enforcement agency to assist you in this 

3. Each school principal and local superintendent must 
immediately report any suspicious activities or 
information to local law enforcement authorities.

In the future, all School Safety Audits must include 
procedures for investigation, discovery, and law 
enforcement intervention in gang or gang-like activity on 
school grounds.  As a result of this request and also the 
comments from focus groups held with school personnel, the 
School Safety Audit Protocol, Procedures, and Checklists is 
being revised and will include this content.

The report which I will provide to the Secretary of 
Education within thirty days will identify those schools 
which are not in complete compliance with the above 
requirements.  Schools must achieve compliance within 
thirty days, as specified in a detailed written remedial 
plan agreed to by the local school board, school 
superintendent, school principal, and my office.  In 
addition, the report will contain recommendations for 
ensuring that Virginia public schools are safe from violent 
activity such as occurred in Littleton.

Thank you for your assistance and attention to the 
Governor's Memorandum.  Please submit the attached 
certification sheet to Deputy Superintendent Ken Magill by 
May 21, 1999.

If you would like assistance or clarification, please 
contact Assistant Superintendent Jo Lynne DeMary at (804) 


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


As Superintendent of the                     school 
division, I certify that my office has reviewed the safety 
measures and procedures in place in each school of the 
division and have found the following to be true:

Please circle a yes or a no

Yes  No      Each school has completed a School Safety Audit
             by June 30, 1998 according to the guidelines
             provided in the School Safety Audit Protocol,
             Procedures, and Checklists.

Yes  No      Schools which have not completed a School Safety
             Audit as required by June 30, 1998 will do so 
             within 30 days. These schools are identified by 
             an attached list.

Yes  No      Each School Safety Audit confirmed that every
             school has developed a Crisis Management Plan 
             which is adequate to protect the life and safety
             of students and school personnel. School personnel
             know the policies, procedures, and responsibilities
             which are provided by the plan.

Yes  No      Schools which do not have a comprehensive Crisis
             Management Plan will have one in place and shared
             with staff within 30 days.  These schools are 
             identified by an attached list.

Yes  No      Each school principal has investigated activities
             on the school grounds for possible formation or
             existence of gangs or gang-like activity.  Local 
             law enforcement agencies have assisted in this effort.

Yes  No      The following schools which have not investigated
             activities will do so within 30 days.  These schools 
             are identified by an attached list.

Yes  No      Each school principal has reported any suspicious 
             activities or information to local law enforcement

Yes  No      Every school that has not achieved compliance with
             any of the above requirements has developed a 
             detailed written remedial action plan approved by
             the school principal, local school board, and my
             office.  These plans provide the actions that will
             achieve compliance within 30 days and are submitted
             for the approval of the State Superintendent of
             Public Instruction.  Attached are copies of these

Yes  No      In addition, we have included recommendations to
             enhance school safety measures at the local level.
             These recommendations are attached.

              _________________________           ___________               
                      Signature                       Date

                            Please return to:
                Dr. Ken Magill, Deputy Superintendent
                   Virginia Department of Education
                              P.O. Box 2120
                         Richmond, VA  23218-2120