School Safety Coordinators

The safety and security of students and staff continues to be a leading priority at APS. The School Safety Coordinators (SSCs) will support middle and high schools by helping to create and maintain safe learning and work environments for students and staff. SSCs also provide support to elementary schools, rotating between all 25 elementary schools. In addition to supporting school safety & security, SSCs are expected to model and promote a positive, productive and safe campus climate.

All SSCs are required to have a School Security Officer (SSO) certification through the Commonwealth of Virginia, which is a non-law enforcement certification designed to provide additional resources and training for those providing safety and security functions within our schools. SSCs are required to adhere to all APS policies and procedures, the Code of Virginia, Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) requirements and regulations, and the School Safety Officer Licensure Manual and Regulations.  The training program from DCJS consists of 16 hours of initial training with additional continuing education every two years.  Arlington Public Schools SSC training program will include 60 hours of initial training with additional continuing education every year.

SSCs are directly employed by APS and report to a supervisor within our Department of Safety, Security, Risk and Emergency Management. SSCs do not have law enforcement authority, but do assist the school with responding to alleged violations of law or policy and behavioral issues. Because SSCs are APS employees, APS is able to manage behavioral and discipline outcomes for students without involving the juvenile justice system, unless students engage in specific criminal activity that qualifies as a referral to law enforcement in compliance with the Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.3:1 and School Board Policy.

School Safety Coordinator Roles & Responsibilities

All School Safety Coordinators (SSCs) provide the following safety and security support functions:

  • Initiate contact with individuals on school grounds or surrounding property to assure visitor authorization.
  • Manage school access by monitoring gates and other points of entry throughout the school to ensure that students, staff, parents, guardians, visitors, vendors, and contractors are appropriately identified and escorted though the school building.
  • Assist school-based administration in performing searches of students and school property.
  • De-escalate issues between students, staff, parents, guardians, visitors, and community members while on school property as needed.
  • Escort students to and from class and the main office as requested by administrators and staff.
  • Assist administrators and law enforcement during emergency drills, investigations, and safety inspections.
  • Maintain a high level of visibility on school campus through hallway patrols during, before and after school hours.
  • Oversee and coordinate parking and bus regulations on school grounds and report accidents on school property.
  • Monitor and assist in controlling crowds at school-sponsored special events and athletic events.
  • Observe and report misuse of facilities, vandalism, or other unauthorized activities.
  • Work collaboratively with school administration and law enforcement personnel in the coordination of security services.
  • Respond to inquiries from students and parents regarding campus security issues for the purpose of providing information, direction and/or referrals.
  • Report observance of any evidence pertaining to criminal activity to school administration and law enforcement authorities as directed.
  • Assist with developing effective school-community relations and in maintaining a positive school climate that promotes a healthy and supportive school environment.

APS & Law Enforcement Partnership

The School and Law Enforcement Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlines expectations between APS and the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD). The MOU was updated on March 10, 2022 and redefines and reimagines the partnership between APS and ACPD. The goals of the MOU are as follows:

  • Reduce student involvement in the criminal justice system by having student disciplinary issues handled within the school building by school administrators;
  • Protect student rights afforded to them legally under all federal, state, and local laws;
  • Formally detail the specific situations as referenced in the Code of Virginia when students are to be referred to law enforcement; and
  • Control access to student information as mandated by FERPA.

Resources