SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that the California Department of Education is taking a new step to help ensure student safety by auditing comprehensive school safety plans that are required of all schools by Education Code 32280-32288. The state compliance audit requirement will begin in the 2018-2019 school year.
Local school districts must approve safety plans for all schools in its district by March 1 of each year. School safety plans are mandatory and help ensure that schools are as prepared as possible for emergencies and also maintain safe and secure learning environments.
“The safety of our children and education communities is our greatest responsibility,” Torlakson said. “When developing school safety plans, it is essential to reflect on lessons learned last year and to implement new and improved actions this year.”
For example, school safety plans must present clear policies to address hate crimes, acts of violence, and their perpetrators. Comprehensive school safety plans must include a discrimination and harassment policy.
Last month Torlakson sent a letter to school district superintendents and charter school administrators about the audit requirement and other requirements and guidance for school safety planning. The California Department of Education (CDE) provides resources and information to assist in developing school safety plans.
School site councils or designated safety committees work with educators, classified staff, parents, and community leaders and consult with law enforcement to make sure plans are effective and current.
County offices of education must notify the CDE by October 15, 2018, if any schools in its jurisdiction have not complied with safety plan requirements. Torlakson’s letter is on the CDE Letters Web page.