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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76542 Find in a Library
Title: Public School Security - Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Journal: Contemporary Education  Volume:52  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1980)  Pages:13-17
Author(s): L Burgan; R J Rubel
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 5
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article traces the development of public school security from the late 1950's to the present and concludes that future security programs must try to change students' antisocial attitudes as well as control violence.
Abstract: Growing violence in the public schools first came to the public's attention in the 1950's through Senate hearings on urban school disruptions and the film, 'The Blackboard Jungle.' Vandalism and crime escalated through the 1960's, but little remedial action was taken until these problems affected more affluent neighborhoods. As costs of crime and vandalism became prohibitive and police were unable to respond effectively, school officials were forced to develop their own methods of protection. By the early 1970's, virtually all school districts serving more than 100,000 people had instituted security systems. Some schools hired special security aides with no police authority and little training, while others relied on cooperative arrangements with local police or formed an internal force of commissioned law enforcement officers. Administrators resented security officers because they challenged their authority and professional competence. Students viewed security personnel with suspicion and distrust, although parents were very supportive of security programs, particularly in the ghetto. With the growth of school security operations in the last decade, professional training has improved substantially and employment criteria have been upgraded. Studies show that schools with functioning security programs have reduced the incidents of violence and disruption. Student acceptance of security officers has improved, and property loss from vandalism and theft has been edging downward. On the other hand, the presence of security forces in schools has institutionalized the problem of school violence, strained relations between teachers and students, and reinforced the public view that schools are disintegrating. If security systems continue to improve their professional and technical competence, they can probably control violence in secondary schools and keep them relatively safe. Discussions with police, educators, and security officers, however, indicate that security operations need to promote attitudinal changes which teach young children concern for others' rights, respect for peace and order, and that law enforcement officers can be friends. No references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public schools; School security; School security officers; Services effectiveness
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