What safety and security measures are used in America's public schools?
Schools use a variety of practices and procedures to promote the safety of students, faculty, and staff. Certain practices, such as locking or monitoring doors and gates, are intended to limit or control access to school campuses, while others, such as the use of metal detectors and security cameras, are intended to monitor or restrict students' and visitors' behavior on campus.
In the 2015–16 school year, 94 percent of public schools reported that they controlled access to school buildings by locking or monitoring doors during school hours. Other safety and security measures reported by public schools included the use of security cameras to monitor the school (81 percent), a requirement that faculty and staff wear badges or picture IDs (68 percent), and the enforcement of a strict dress code (53 percent). In addition, 25 percent of public schools reported the use of random dog sniffs to check for drugs, 21 percent required that students wear uniforms, 7 percent required students to wear badges or picture IDs, and 4 percent used random metal detector checks.
Use of various safety and security procedures differed by school level during the 2015–16 school year. For example, greater percentages of public primary schools and public middle schools than of public high schools controlled access to school buildings and required faculty and staff to wear badges or picture IDs. Additionally, a greater percentage of primary schools than of middle schools required students to wear uniforms (25 vs. 20 percent), and both percentages were greater than the percentage of high schools requiring uniforms (12 percent). The percentage of schools reporting the enforcement of a strict dress code was greater for middle schools (70 percent) than for high schools (55 percent) and primary schools (46 percent). The percentage of schools reporting the use of security cameras to monitor the school was greater for high schools (94 percent) than middle schools (89 percent), and both of these percentages were greater than the percentage for primary schools (73 percent). The same pattern was evident for the use of random dog sniffs and the use of random metal detector checks. A greater percentage of high schools (16 percent) and middle schools (13 percent) than of primary schools (3 percent) required students to wear badges or picture IDs.
Percentage of public schools that used selected safety and security measures, by school level: School year 2015–16
! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
1 For example, locked or monitored doors.
NOTE: Responses were provided by the principal or the person most knowledgeable about crime and safety issues at the school. Primary schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is not higher than grade 3 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 8. Middle schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is not lower than grade 4 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 9. High schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is not lower than grade 9 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 12.
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