School Safety and Security Assessment Criteria Toolkit
A school safety and security assessment is a strategic evaluation of a school entity’s facilities and programs used to identify potential safety and security threats. Under Section 1303-B of the PA Public School Code, assessments are to include consideration of the safety and security of a school entity’s physical environment, the school entity’s climate and behavioral health environment, and all related policies and training.
Utilizing pre-existing, established school safety assessment materials, and relying on the expertise of the Committee and related Workgroups (see Appendix A for Workgroup members), this assessment criterion is a compilation of best practices as determined and adopted by the Committee in 2018, and revised and adopted on February 24, 2021. The Committee shall review this criterion and make revisions every three years, as needed.
This toolkit is intended to be used to inform both school entities and assessors as to the state of a school’s safety and security preparedness. The criteria are not meant to direct school entities to have all of these best practices in place, but rather to guide school officials with respect to what they may need to do to create a safer, more secure learning environment.
In using these criteria, the Committee recognizes that every school is unique. Each school entity will have its own set of priorities, resources, and building characteristics that will determine which, if any, of these options for consideration may be applicable. Each school will need to balance the choice to implement or upgrade security measures against possible disruption to the learning environment and prioritize any projects based on their own unique needs. Schools represent a range of local and regional environmental, historical, and cultural influences. A facility’s particular characteristics merit the thoughtful use of these assessment criteria in tailoring the school’s plan to make its facility a safer environment for children to learn.
Tiers have been applied to the statements to indicate the uniqueness of each school entity. These tiers, tier 1, 2, and 3 (T1, T2, T3), provide information on the types of security equipment, services and programs, trainings, policies and procedures that are in place in each school. Tier 1 could be considered the baseline of services to be met with tiers 2 and 3 being considered additional elements that build upon and strengthen the foundations of the physical safety and security of buildings and grounds; policy/procedure and trainings, and the student assistance and behavioral health support of the school entity.
The criteria can be downloaded, printed and used by assessors to complete the assessment. There is a checkbox provided that can be marked to designate criteria fulfillment.
Note: Throughout these criteria the term "policy/procedure" is used as a general term denoting written documentation and could include a board-approved policy, internal procedure or administrative regulation, or plan, based on requirements of law and regulations and the advice of legal counsel.
If you have any questions regarding the content of this report, please contact Carol Kuntz, School Safety and Security Program Manager at (717) 265-8450.
The School Safety and Security Assessment Criteria Toolkit includes the following information to be used by assessors and schools to provide information and facilitate the assessment process.
(The following will all be links to downloadable/printable documents)
Overview: Section 1303-B of the PA Public School Code of 1949
Use of Assessment Criteria By School Entities
Use of Assessment Criteria By Assessors
Physical Assessment Criteria
Student Assistance and Behavioral Health Support Assessment Criteria
Policy and Training Assessment Criteria
Appendix A: Workgroup Membership
Appendix B: Additional Resources