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School safety and security measures

Question:
What safety and security measures are used in America's public schools?

Response:

There are many different components to measuring students' safety at school, and NCES conducts and supports regular surveys on school crime and safety . Public School Safety and Discipline: 2013–14 provides data on school safety practices and procedures, and also contains school reports of school crime incidents.

Improvements in monitoring and communication can help to ensure students, teachers, and parents have the information they need at the right moment. There have been increases in the use of some types of technology in schools. For example, the percentage of schools that used one or more security cameras to monitor the school in 2013–14 (75 percent) was higher than it was in 2009–10 (61 percent). The percentage of schools which had an electronic notification system that automatically notifies parents in case of a school-wide emergency was also higher in 2013–14 (82 percent) than in 2009–10 (63 percent). Further, the percentage of schools which had a structured anonymous threat reporting system (e.g. online submission, telephone hotline, or written submission via dropbox) was higher in 2013–14 (47 percent) than in 2009–10 (36 percent). The percentage of schools that prohibited student use of cell phones and text messaging was lower in 2013–14 (76 percent) than in 2009–10 (91 percent).

In 2013–14, public schools reported various additional safety and discipline practices, including 93 percent that controlled access to school buildings during school hours (e.g., locked or monitored doors), 68 percent that required faculty and staff to wear badges or picture IDs, and 58 percent that enforced a strict dress code.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). Public School Safety and Discipline: 2013–14 (NCES 2015-051) and U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2013). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2012 (NCES 2013-036), Table 20.2.

Percent of public schools with various safety and discipline practices, by selected school characteristics: School year 2013–14
School characteristic Access to school buildings controlled1 Security cameras Strict dress code enforced Faculty/staff badges or IDs required Electronic system notifies parents of school-wide emergency Structured anonymous threat reporting system2 Use of cell phones and text messaging devices prohibited3
All public schools 93 75 58 68 82 47 76
Instructional level4
Elementary 95 67 53 73 83 43 84
Middle 95 84 70 69 82 54 79
High school/combined 89 89 64 54 79 49 51
Enrollment size
Less than 300 87 73 56 46 76 36 79
300 to 499 97 75 57 71 80 47 80
500 to 999 95 73 60 77 85 48 77
1,000 or more 92 89 64 78 87 61 54

1 Control access to school buildings during school hours (e.g., locked or monitored doors).

2 Provide a structured anonymous threat reporting system (e.g., online submission, telephone hotline, or written submission via drop box).

3 Prohibit use of cell phones and text messaging devices during school hours.

4 Elementary schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is less than or equal to 3 and the highest grade is less than or equal to 8. Middle schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is greater than or equal to 4 and the highest grade is less than or equal to 9. High school/combined schools include high schools defined as schools in which the lowest grade is greater than or equal to 9 and the highest grade is less than or equal to 12, and combined schools defined as those with all other combinations of grades, including K–12.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). Public School Safety and Discipline: 2013–14 (NCES 2015-051), Table 1.

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