State law encourages districts to implement building risk or hazard assessment protocols.
Mississippi Administrative Code 7-192 Mississippi School Safety Manual
Evaluating school safety procedures and practices is an ongoing process. One of the first steps in designing a School Safety Plan is the evaluation of the school's current safety status and statistics. When drafting a school safety plan, a safety committee shall be formed with representatives of all elements of the school and community responders. This plan shall be reviewed by all involved and signed off on by each entity involved. The plan shall be reviewed/revised annually during the summer and submitted for board approval. The school safety plan must have annual board approval.
The purpose of this assessment is to increase district knowledge of gaps or areas of needed improvement, evaluate the procedures for legality and consistency, and to initiate new policies based on assessment findings. It is recommended that a comprehensive school safety assessment be conducted by either MDE's Division of School Safety, a certified SRO, or a School Safety Administrator that uses MDE Standard for assessment.
It is also recommended the assessment instruments be used to assess perceptions of school safety on the part of staff, faculty, and students. It should be remembered that perceptions do not necessarily reflect facts regarding school safety. The Division of School Safety will assist in these areas upon request.
Types of Assessments
- Site Assessment: A site assessment examines the safety, accessibility, and emergency preparedness of the school's buildings and grounds. This assessment includes, but is not limited to, a review of building access and egress control measures, visibility around the exterior of the building, compliance with applicable architectural Standard for individuals with disabilities and others with functional and access needs, and emergency vehicle access.
Purpose and Results
- a. Increased understanding of the potential impact of threats and hazards on the school buildings and grounds.
- b. Increased understanding of risk and vulnerabilities of the school buildings and grounds when developing the plan.
- c. Knowledge of which facilities are physically accessible to students with disabilities, staff, parents, volunteer workers, and emergency response personnel.
Mississippi Code 37-3-93. School Crisis Management Program; quick response teams; toll-free telephone service for reporting school violence; certified threat assessment officers and duties thereof.
(3) As a component of the School Crisis Management Program, the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security shall develop a curriculum, train and certify threat assessment officers. A certified threat assessment officer shall conduct an annual inspection and threat assessment of each public school in the state. The threat assessment officer shall develop an improvement plan for each school inspected. The assessment shall include the inspection of surveillance equipment and building-specific floor plans. The findings of the inspection and threat assessment, including a copy of the improvement plan shall be provided to local law enforcement agencies and the local school board within four (4) weeks of completion.