State law encourages districts to implement building risk or hazard assessment protocols.
South Carolina Code of Laws 59-17-160. Model fire safety policies and guidelines.
(A) Prior to the beginning of the 2019-2020 School Year, the State Department of Education and the Office of the State Fire Marshal shall collaborate and develop model fire and safety policies and program guidelines that must be made available to each school district and charter school in the State. The provisions of this section do not apply to charter schools whose instruction is primarily delivered online.
(B) Each school district board of trustees and the governing body of each charter school shall adopt a policy and program for school facility fire and safety, including inspections, before the beginning of the 2020-2021 School Year. The policy and program must:
- (1) be adopted in open meetings in which the public may provide comment on the terms of the policies and programs;
- (2) include routine self-assessments; and
- (3) be published on the district’s or charter school’s Internet website in a prominent location that is easily accessible by the public.
(C) Prior to July 1, 2021, each district and charter school shall submit its fire and safety policy and program to the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the State Department of Education. The office and department shall collaborate in the review of the school policies and programs. Within one hundred twenty days of the receipt of a policy or program, the office and department must jointly provide written comments to the district on how the policies and programs may be improved.
(D) Local school district boards of trustees and charter school governing bodies may request technical assistance in the development of fire and safety policies and programs.
South Carolina Code of Laws 59-5-65 Powers and responsibilities of State Board of Education
The State Board of Education shall have the power and responsibility to:
- (15) Develop by regulation a model safe schools checklist to be used by school districts on a regular basis to assess their schools’ safety strengths and weaknesses. The checklist must include:
- (a) the existence of a comprehensive safety plan;
- (b) communication of discipline policies and procedures;
- (c) intraagency and interagency emergency planning;
- (d) recording of disruptive incidents;
- (e) training of staff and students;
- (f) assessment of buildings and grounds;
- (g) procedures for handling visitors;
- (h) assignment of personnel in emergencies;
- (i) emergency communication and management procedures; and
- (j) transportation rules and accident procedures.
South Carolina Code of State Regulations 43-166 Student and School Safety
A. School Safety Assessment
- The State Department of Education shall develop a Model Safe Schools Checklist designed to assess schools’ safety strengths and weaknesses. The checklist must include items addressing the following topics:
a. the existence of a comprehensive safety plan;
b. communication of discipline policies and procedures;
c. intra-agency and interagency emergency planning;
d. recording of disruptive incidents;
e. training of staff and students;
f. assessment of buildings and grounds;
g. procedures for handling visitors;
h. assignment of personnel in emergencies;
i. emergency communication and management procedures; and
j. transportation rules and accident procedures.
- The State Department of Education shall submit the checklist to the State Board of Education for approval prior to dissemination to the school districts. The checklist may be revised on an annual basis by the State Board of Education in compliance with relevant provisions of the Safe Schools Act of 1990.
- Prior to September 30 of each school year, the State Department of Education shall disseminate a copy of the model safe schools checklist to every public school district in the state.
- School districts shall be advised by the Department of Education of the requirement to use a safe schools checklist in compliance with Section 59-5-65, S.C. Code of Laws, 1976. This safety assessment should be part of the comprehensive needs assessment conducted for school improvement purposes in compliance with Section 59-20-60(4)(d), S.C. Code of Laws, 1976. In particular, a safe schools check list should be utilized in determining “school climate” needs, one of the six indicators of school effectiveness.
B. First Aid Supplies
- Each school shall provide adequate first aid supplies and equipment.
C. Support for Authorities
- The Board urges all citizens to continue their active and vigorous support of the local school and civil authorities in insuring the personal safety and security of all students and teachers.
D. Emergency and Disaster Plans
- A plan shall be designed to provide for the protection and welfare of students in the event of any disaster (tornado, hurricane, fire, etc.) which threatens to involve the school community. Each school shall conduct at least one emergency drill within the first month of school to insure safety against such disasters.
E. Guidelines will be developed by the State Department of Education which will refer to statutory provisions relating to school safety, as well as additional information. The State Department of Education will review and update these guidelines as needed.