Schools are highly complex and unique organizations that operate with an urgent imperative: Educate all children and youth to achieve their highest potential and contribute to society. Creating safe, orderly, and inviting school environments is critical to ensuring schools meet this goal. As such, I encourage the following key roles be assigned within every school and school district to ensure an effective school security program.
For an appropriate and adequate level of school security, all the following responsibilities should be identified and assigned. Failure to do so may result in serious security deficiencies, risks, or vulnerabilities.
School Security Coordinator
Each school should have a staff member designated as the “School Security Coordinator” whose responsibilities should be clearly identified. Depending upon the size of the school involved, this is usually a part-time or adjunct responsibility (possibly a vice principal) and should report directly to the principal. This role should be a component of their job description, performance evaluation, and responsibilities should be known to all school employees. The following responsibilities of the School Security Coordinator should be identified and assigned.
- The School Security Coordinator must receive adequate training related to school security responsibilities.
- The role will work closely with the school’s designated School Resource Officer (SRO) and School District Security Coordinator.
- They will report to the principal on a regular basis as it relates to school security responsibilities, issues, and concerns.
- The School Security Coordinator is a designated member of the School Threat Assessment Team.
- They will serve as the designated information resource to teachers, support staff, parent volunteers, and PTA/PTO regarding security matters, and ensure proper training is conducted.
- They are responsible for the development and adherence to the school’s “Safe Schools Plan”.
- They are responsible for the purchase, training, maintenance, and oversight of all school security systems, communications, lighting, security landscaping measures, and building security signage.
- They are responsible for the adoption of a security-related policies and procedures, such as work order process, key management, electronic credentials.
- They will conduct school tours with law enforcement and other first responders, providing them with tactical school floor plans, master keys, emergency locker and other requested security access.
- They will facilitate necessary security training and drills (e.g., lock-down drills, emergency evacuation training, active shooter/assailant training)
- School Security Coordinators should also participate in meetings and security-related information exchange with other school security coordinators within the school district.
- They should provide training for school staff in the proper use of school duress alarms.
- They should ensure that school intrusion detection systems are serviced and inspected by a certified installer every 3-4 years.
- They should ensure that first responders are able to override the school electronic access control system in the event of a school lockdown.
- They should ensure that a periodic (at least annually) audit of electronic access control encoding credentials occurs.
- They should oversee compliance with the school key management policies and procedures.
- They should be responsible for the security of school temporary or modular buildings.
- They should actively participate in critiques of school lockdown drills, emergency evacuation drills and school active shooter drills.
School District Security Coordinator
Each school district should have a key staff member who serves as the “School District Security Coordinator”. Depending upon the size of the school district, this could be either a full or part-time position and should have a direct line of communication with the district school superintendent. The following responsibilities of the School District Security Coordinator should be identified and assigned.
- The School District Security Coordinator provides guidance and support for the school district’s School Security Coordinators for each school.
- They are responsible to coordinate and communicate with the local law enforcement school security liaison.
- They will coordinate and meet with the school district superintendent on a regular basis as it relates to school security issues and concerns.
- The designated School District Security Coordinator should be trained and certified in Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) and provide CPTED guidance in the building of new facilities.
- They ensure the development and maintenance of Safe Schools Plans for each school in the district addressing emergency preparedness and response.
- They ensure that school leadership for each school in the district have received instruction in the principles and strategies associated with the Incident Command System (ICS).
- School District Security Coordinators will provide guidance and ensure necessary security training and drills for school staff (e.g., lock-down drills, emergency evacuation training, active shooter/assailant training).
- They will participate in monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual school district and law enforcement working and/or leadership meetings.
- They develop district-wide school physical and electronic security standards, procedures, and policies in the areas of school perimeter, visitor management, key management, electronic access control, classroom security and overall building and site security.
- They will provide guidance, standards and protocols for physical and electronic security systems employed in the school district such as, video surveillance systems, electronic access control system, intrusion detection system, and others.
- They are responsible to document safety and security events or policy violations that occur within a school district
- The School District Security Coordinator works with the law enforcement school security liaison and community policing professionals to encourage and facilitate youth/law enforcement community engagement programs and initiatives.
- They ensure that school security assessments based upon school district wide security standards are performed every 2-3 years by certified School Security Assessment Specialists.
- The School District Security Coordinator should provide written policies and procedures for school key management and control.
Next week we will cover the necessary elements of collaboration and communication between school security coordinators and local law enforcement.
Presented Live Virtually
May 23-24, 2023
You can learn more about vital school security issues and additional school security topics in the American Crime Prevention Institute’s upcoming School Security Assessment Certification Seminar to be presented live virtually on May 23-24, 2023.
This unique, unprecedented training program has been developed in collaboration with knowledgeable school architects, experienced and certified school security consultants, and certified crime prevention specialists.
This program will be of unparalleled value to anyone responsible for the conduct of school security assessments or surveys.
To learn more about the School Security Assessment Certification Seminar to be presented live virtually in May, click here.
ACPI is a worldwide leader in enabling law enforcement agencies, businesses, institutions, and security professionals to reduce criminal activity and risk and enhance quality of life through the delivery of practical, unbiased training and certification programs. Visit our website at acpionline.com to learn about our comprehensive list of both live virtual and self-paced training courses.