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Setting Standards

NCJ Number
Campus Safety Journal Volume: 9 Issue: 7 Dated: August 2001 Pages: 22-25
Robert Watson; James Watson
Date Published
August 2001
4 pages
This article describes the process of developing campus safety and security standards that are effective.
Without standards to provide a basis for addressing school safety and security issues, wrong decisions can be made in school design, in the purchase of technology and equipment, in the implementation of procedures, or in providing required and necessary training on an annual basis. This article describes the process used by three school districts to develop a comprehensive, uniform, district-wide set of school safety and security standards. The school districts are Greenville County, Greenville, SC; Lorain City Schools, Lorain, OH; and Lee County, AL. A large community committee was formed in each district under the leadership of a hired consultant, who described to the committee the standards-development and validation process the committee would follow over the next several months. The larger committee was divided into five smaller committees, which focused on facilities, technology and equipment, policies and procedures, staff training and staffing, and safety planning. Each committee, working with a consultant, spent approximately 3 months selecting tentative standards for its area of focus; these were then submitted to the whole committee, which then shared these tentative standards with the entire school community for feedback. Upon completion of this process, an evaluation process was determined for the standards. The committees divided standards into those considered critical and those considered non-critical. Then, taking the standards as a group, the full committee decided questions about the level of compliance. Since most schools could not immediately meet all of the approximately 120 safety standards, the different levels of compliance allowed the schools to work toward compliance. Subsequently, the approved standards were sent to the Board of Education for approval. From these standards, a school safety and security assessor key was developed that allowed trained assessors to apply the standards to each school in a fair, consistent, and uniform manner.