By Emily Herchen
With multiple school shootings spanning the news, school violence and its prevention is a currently debated concern. From the federal Safe and Drug-Free Schools initiative to local, on-the-ground response teams, keeping schools safe is a complex task requiring coordination between the state, district, school officials, students and the community at-large.
State regulations on school bullying and harassment can play an important role in mitigating violent student behavior, by funding prevention and awareness programs and requiring strong suspension or expulsion policies. Using the data from its annual state policy surveys, the EPE Research Center found that between 2005 and 2006, the number of states with anti-bullying or harassment regulations for schools increased from 31 to 34 states. As a result, roughly two-thirds of all states now have some policy in place.
Furthering state regulations and policies on violence, harassment and bullying may have the potential to reduce student perceptions of insecurity. By addressing the underlying causes of these behaviors, the school community can begin to respond to recent media accounts and prepare a backbone for neutralizing crises before they escalate to fatal measures. At the same time, students may be able to re-focus their attention on their academic growth and not on who is watching their back.
For more state-by-state information related to school climate, please see the EPE Research Center's Education Counts database.