"Theft, violent crime and student homicides have declined in American schools (with children in grades K-12) over the past decade. A growing body of evidence shows that violence prevention programs can help young people learn other ways to resolve conflict and express their feelings in a safer way. Schools and communities can work together to make these programs available and prevent violence before it occurs." (School Crime, National Institute of Justice, 2010).
Our nation's schools should be safe havens for teaching and learning, free of crime and violence. Any instance of crime or violence at school not only affects the individuals involved, but also may disrupt the educational process and affect bystanders, the school itself, and the surrounding community (as provided in Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2012, Bureau of Justice Statistics/U.S. Department of Education, 2013).
In the wake of several high-profile shootings at schools in the United States, the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education embarked on a collaborative endeavor to study incidents of planned (or targeted) violence in our nation's schools. The study, termed the Safe School Initiative (SSI), examined several issues, most notably whether past school-based attacks were planned, and what could be done to prevent future attacks. Key findings of the SSI included:
Further information about the SSI findings is available in the report, Prior Knowledge of Potential School-Based Violence: Information Students Learn May Prevent A Targeted Attack (U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education, 2008).
Public schools use a variety of practices and procedures intended to promote the safety of students and staff. Certain practices, such as locked or monitored doors or gates, are intended to limit or control access to school campuses, while others, such as metal detectors, security cameras, and drug sweeps, are intended to monitor or restrict student and visitor behavior on campus (Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2011, Bureau of Justice Statistics/U.S. Department of Education, 2012).
The U.S. Department of Education has identified fundamental qualities of a safe and responsible school and presented them in Safeguarding Our Children: An Action Guide:
This topical resource on School Safety contains the following information:
Facts and Figures – Includes the latest information and statistics.
Legislation – A sample of links to online Federal and State legislation and testimony.
Publications – A sample of available resources.
Programs – Examples of State and local programs and initiatives available online.
Training and Technical Assistance – A sample of training and technical assistance opportunities available through nationally recognized agencies and associations.
Grants and Funding – Links to Federal funding opportunities.
Related Resources – Examples of nationally recognized agencies and organizations that provide services or information.