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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2008
NCES 2009-022
April 2009

Indicator 20: Safety and Security Measures Taken by Public Schools

Between the 1999–2000 and 2005–06 school years, the percentage of schools using one or more security cameras to monitor the school increased from 19 to 43 percent.

Public schools use a variety of practices and procedures intended to promote the safety of students and staff. This indicator provides information on what types of safety and security measures schools use and how frequently they use them. In the School Survey on Crime and Safety, public school officials were asked about their school's use of such measures and procedures. 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 students' and visitors' behavior on campus.

In the 2005–06 school year, 85 percent of public schools controlled access to school buildings by locking or monitoring doors during school hours, and 41 percent controlled access to school grounds with locked or monitored gates (figure 20.1 and table 20.1). About 48 percent of public schools required faculty and staff to wear badges or picture identification, and 43 percent used one or more security cameras to monitor the school. Five percent of public schools performed drug testing on athletes and 3 percent did so for students in other extracurricular activities. Students were required to wear uniforms in 14 percent of public schools in 2005–06.

The use of security measures varied by school level. Although a lower percentage of primary schools than middle and high schools reported using many of these measures, a higher percentage of primary schools than middle and high schools controlled access to school buildings and grounds during school hours (table 20.1). In addition, a larger percentage of primary schools than high schools reported requiring students to wear uniforms: 16 percent of primary schools required uniforms in 2005–06, compared to 5 percent of high schools. A higher percentage of public high schools than primary or middle schools reported performing drug tests on student athletes and students in extracurricular activities, random dog sniffs to check for drugs, random sweeps for contraband, and using security cameras. Thirteen percent of high schools reported performing drug tests on athletes, compared to 7 percent of middle schools and 1 percent of primary schools; and 61 percent of high schools performed random dog sniffs to check for drugs, compared to 41 percent and 4 percent of middle and primary schools, respectively.

The percentage of schools using various security measures has changed over time. Between the 1999– 2000 and 2005–06 school years, the percentage of schools using one or more security cameras to monitor the school increased from 19 to 43 percent (figure 20.2 and table 20.2). The percentage of public schools providing telephones in most classrooms also increased, from 45 percent in 1999–2000 to 67 percent in 2005–06.

This indicator repeats information from the 2007 Indicators of School Crime and Safety report. For more information: Tables 20.1 and 20.2; Appendix B for definitions of school levels and urbanicity; and Nolle, Guerino, and Dinkes (2007).

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