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Brooke Point

School Security Assessments


    In 2019, Fentress served as a subconsultant to Major Security Consulting and Design, LLC. The Major-Fentress Team conducted a comprehensive assessment of the Stafford County, VA public and central office campus and provided recommendations for a systematic approach for improving school security.

    Stafford County, VA is a largely suburban community with a population of nearly 150,000 residents, located midway between Washington, DC and Richmond, VA. The school system has 33 total schools, including elementary, middle, and high schools, public day schools, and an alternative education program. With nearly 30,000 students, the school system is the largest accredited school division in the Commonwealth of VA.

    As concerns over school security and safety have increased in recent years, the Stafford County Public Schools (SCPS) wanted a comprehensive assessment of its school facilities and overall security programs and policies. Over a period of two months, the Major-Fentress Team conducted security assessments of 14 school facilities and the central office campus.

    The assessments included physical inspections of the interior and exterior of the facilities as well as observations of student, teacher, staff, and visitor movements and procedures. The assessments were conducted using a modified CARVER assessment methodology, an approach based on six risk factors (criticality, accessibility, recuperability, vulnerability, effect, and recognizability). The team also applied Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles and industry best practices in design and security to the assessments.

    In addition to the assessments, the Major-Fentress Team interviewed teachers, staff members, and administrators at individual facilities and the central office, including the head of the SCPS Department of Safety and Security, the SCPS Superintendent, and the Chief Officer of High Schools and School Safety.  During these interviews, feedback was collected on security practices that work well and areas of deficiency or need. The team also attended after-school and evening events and observed visitor and staff activities both inside and outside of the facilities.

    The Major-Fentress Team reviewed numerous SCPS policies and procedural documents, including:

    • Pupil transportation and attendance system
    • Pupil transportation bus routing map
    • Department of Safety, Security, and Risk Management (DSSRM) budgetary and staffing requirements
    • School security officer staffing, assignments, supervision, and job requirements
    • Threat assessment procedures for individual student and facility-based threats
    • Crisis management plans
    • Security processes and planning for large events, such as football games, graduations, and special events
    • Current security protocols and internal electronic security technology (CCTV, duress alarms, access control)
    • Training processes, competency, and fluency/fluidity
    • Memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Stafford County Sheriff's Office and SCPS
    • Physical and procedural security improvement strategies
    • Current bullying code of conduct policies and procedures
    • Central Office access control procedures
    • Pupil transportation pick-up and drop-off procedures
    • SCPS Emergency Management Plan
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    The Major-Fentress Team produced a series of reports for this project, including a detailed security assessment report for each school and the central office, as well as a final district-wide report. The district-wide report included an analysis of each policy and procedural document that was reviewed, along with recommendations for improvement, a summary of the individual school facility assessment reports, and a detailed list of district-wide security improvement recommendations. This list of district-wide recommendations included a prioritized implementation strategy and general cost estimates for each recommendation. 

    The Major-Fentress Team also produced additional analyses for the district, including:

    • A comprehensive organizational and staffing plan and recommended budget for a new Department of Safety, Security, and Risk Management for the district.
    • A set of school security design standards for new construction and renovation projects, intended to guide architectural and construction contractors and to ensure that security is considered as a critical element of the initial planning process. The list included nearly 60 standards in the areas of site perimeter and parking, exterior doors and windows, school entry and front office, administrative and support areas, interior spaces, and technology.
    • An all-hazards threat assessment that addressed the top security risk areas identified by school principals and administrators (i.e., bullying, drug and alcohol use, active shooters, etc.), and mitigation strategies for each.

    The team also produced a presentation for the SCPS school board that summarized the findings and recommendations.