Division & School Safety
Acts of violence in schools have stunned the nation. Children and adolescents, in particular, may experience anxiety, fear, and a sense of personal risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help students feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears.
The Talking to Children About Violence resource from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides tips for parents and teachers on how to talk to children about violence. Additional resources are available from the American School Counselor Association.
For more information, please contact Ms. Maribel Saimre, School Psychologist Specialist, Office of Student Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (804) 692-0396 or Mr. Joseph Wharff, School Counseling Specialist, Office of Student Services at email@example.com or by telephone (804) 225-3370.
Maintaining a safe and secure school building involves planning in five major categories:
- Prevention – actions schools take to prevent an emergency incident
- Protection – steps taken to secure schools against manmade or natural disasters and acts of violence
- Mitigation – actions taken to eliminate or reduce the loss of property and life by lessening the impact of an emergency
- Response – steps taken to stabilize an emergency once it has occurred
- Recovery – actions taken to restore the learning environment
Emergency Operations Plans (EOP) are developed in collaboration with division administrators, school personnel, rescue personnel, firefighters, law enforcement, hospital personnel, counselors, psychologist, social workers, parents and other community stakeholders. Students and staff practice evacuating, locking-down and sheltering-in-place drills to ready themselves in case an incident occurs. Annually, data is collected and analyzed to improve building security and emergency plans.
The Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety collaborate to collect, analyze and disseminate data that can be used to update and improve EOP. Additionally, professional development and technical assistance opportunities, publications, and other resources are provided to assist school divisions and communities in sustaining safe school environments.
Reports & Requirements at a Glance
Divisionwide Safety Audit Committee
- Guidance on Emergency Manager Designee
- Helpful Hints for School Emergency Management -REMS
- Guidance for School Systems in the Event that Victims Arise From an Emergency
Division & School Safety Audit Survey/Reports
- Guidance on School Safety Inspection Checklist
- Divisionwide School Safety Survey
- Virginia School Crisis Management Plan Review and Certification
- Guidance on Threat Assessment Team Formation and Reporting
- Threat Assessment in Virginia Public Schools: Models Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines
Emergency Operation Procedures/Crisis Management
- Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) Guidelines for Schools (PDF)
- First Aid Guide for School Emergencies (PDF)
- DCJS Intruder/Active Shooter: Critical Incident Response Guide and Video
Crisis & Emergency Planning
- School Crisis, Emergency Management and Medical Emergency Response Plan
- School Crisis, Emergency Management and Medical Emergency Response Plan-Quick Guide
- Virginia Educator’s Drill Guide
- Virginia Schools Bus Driver and Monitor Safety and Security Manual-This is a Word document.
- Virginia Schools Bus Driver and Monitor Safety and Security Manual-This is a PDF document.
- Virginia School Bus Driver and Monitor Video
Other Resources & Publications
Virginia State Department of:
- Behavioral Health & Developmental Services
- Criminal Justice Services: Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety
- Emergency Management
- Environmental Quality
Other Virginia Resources
- Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS)
- Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operation Plans (PDF)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Persistently Dangerous Schools
VDOE monitors data on violence and criminal acts in schools to identify schools in need of technical assistance to improve safety and create climates conducive to teaching and learning. Schools at risk of being identified as “persistently dangerous” under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (also known as No Child Left Behind) are monitored in an effort to address and correct those areas posing risks within the schools.
- Persistently Dangerous Schools Identification Process and Criteria (PDF) – Adopted by the Virginia Board of Education, April 29, 2003.
The Virginia Board of Education’s statewide policy on students attending a “persistently dangerous” school or who become victims of violent crime while in or on the grounds of a public school is to provide those students with the opportunity to attend a safe school within the school division.
- Persistantly Dangerous Schools & Unsafe School Choice Option Policy (PDF) – A VDOE Board of Education policy.