A top concern for any school district is the safety of its people: students, teachers, staff, and administrators.
School safety and security has always been a priority, but schools are now faced with deeper and more critical challenges.
IASB has been very involved with the issue of school safety and security for a number of years. The Association authored legislation regarding the School Safety Drill Act; participated as a member of the Illinois School Security and Standards Task Force and the Illinois Terrorism Task Force; and hosted School Safety Seminars and webinars. Additionally, IASB offers a suite of sample materials related to school safety and security as part of the PRESS policy service.
The following resources are offered to support local school boards in providing a safe and secure environment for all:
School districts and boards of education are bound by a number of legal requirements intended to keep students, staff, and other occupants and visitors of district facilities safe and secure. Below is a list of some, but not all, statutes that apply to school districts that board members need to stay apprised of and ensure compliance with.
The School Safety Drill Act (105 ILCS 128/) establishes minimum requirements and standards for schools to follow when conducting school safety drills and reviewing school emergency and crisis response plans and to encourage schools and first responders to work together for the safety of children. Communities and schools may exceed these requirements and standards.
Each school district, through its school board or the board's designee, must conduct a minimum of one annual meeting at which it reviews each school building's emergency and crisis response plans, protocols, and procedures and each building's compliance with the school safety drill programs. The purpose of this annual review is to review and update the emergency and crisis response plans, protocols, and procedures and the school safety drill programs of the district and each of its school buildings. (105 ILCS 128/25)
Threat Assessment Procedure (105 ILCS 128/45) – School districts are required to have a threat assessment team and a school board policy on targeted school violence prevention. The procedure must include the creation of a threat assessment team. The team must include all of the following members: An administrator employed by the school district or a special education cooperative that serves the school; a teacher employed by the school district or a special education cooperative that serves the school; a school counselor employed by the school district or a special education cooperative that serves the school district; a school psychologist employed by the school district or a special education cooperative that serves the school district; a school social worker employed by the school district or a special education cooperative that serves the school district and at least one law enforcement official. If a school district is unable to establish a threat assessment team with school district staff and resources, it may utilize a regional behavioral threat assessment and intervention team that includes mental health professionals and representatives from the state, county, and local law enforcement agencies.
Each year prior to the start of the school year, the school board shall file the threat assessment procedure and a list identifying the members of the school district's threat assessment team or regional behavior threat assessment and intervention team with a local law enforcement agency and the regional office of education or, with respect to a school district organized under Article 34 of the School Code, the State Board of Education.
Grants may be available from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to support school safety improvements, including professional development; safety-related upgrades to school buildings, equipment, and facilities. (105 ILCS 5/2-3.180)
Additionally, school districts can use revenue provided by the County School Facility Occupation Tax for school security personnel, such as school resource officers and mental health professionals.
As federal agencies release school safety funding grants throughout the year, the SchoolSafety.gov’s Grants Finder Tool will reflect available opportunities.
A number of state and federal agencies and other organizations offer support to schools to create safe and supportive learning environments. The following links include information, training, and recommendations to help schools prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to, and recover from emergency situations. Topics include, but are not limited to threat assessment, emergency preparedness, student mental health, security, and cybersecurity.
- ISBE Educational Safety and Security Center
- Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) School Safety Information Sharing Program
- Illinois School Campus and Safety Resource Center
- Office of the Illinois Attorney General – Violence Prevention and Public Safety
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being in Schools
- Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Campus Resilience Program
- Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center
- U.S. Secret Service (USSS) National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC)
- ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) Training Institute
- Averted School Violence
- Center for Trauma Informed Practices
- National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Recommendations for Comprehensive School Safety and Crisis Policies
- National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments
- National Education Association (NEA), School Crisis Guide
- Stop the Bleed
IASB offers sample material to subscribers of its PRESS policy service. Sample policies and procedures address school safety and security operational services, preparedness and response, instructional resources, student rights and responsibilities, and student mental health supports. They include
- 4:165, Awareness and Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Grooming Behaviors
- 4:170, Safety
- 4:175, Convicted Child Sex Offender; Screening; Notifications
- 4:180, Pandemic Preparedness; Management; and Recovery
- 4:190, Targeted School Violence Prevention Program
- 6:235, Access to Electronic Networks
- 7:140, Search and Seizure
- 7:150, Agency and Police Interviews
- 7:250, Student Support Services
- 7:280, Communicable and Chronic Infectious Disease
- 7:290, Suicide and Depression Awareness and Prevention
For more information about sample policies, please contact the Policy Services department.
- IASB Position Statement 1.01, Educational Programs
- IASB Position Statement 2.24, School Safety Grant Program
- IASB Position Statement 2.55, Life Safety Fund Use
- IASB Position Statement 6.19, School Safety – Traffic Zones
- IASB Position Statement 7.08, Polling Places in Schools