School Climate & Safety What the Research Says

How School Security Changed Since the Pandemic, in 5 Charts

By Sarah D. Sparks — January 12, 2023 2 min read
A student covers his head and holds onto a table during a statewide earthquake drill, at Lowell Elementary School on Oct. 20, 2016, in Seattle. Schools, businesses, and community organizations conducted similar exercises across the state as part of the annual Great Washington ShakeOut earthquake and tsunami readiness program.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

After five years of natural and manmade upheavals, most school leaders now have a plan in place and feel prepared to cope with every emergency, from pandemic outbreaks to school shootings to suicide.

What’s more likely to keep them up at night is managing day-to-day disruptions and misbehavior as student trauma and mental health problems rise.

That’s according to federal data released this morning from the School Crime and Safety Survey. The National Center for Education Statistics asked a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 principals about their emergency, security, and discipline policies as part of the School Pulse Survey in November.

The Pulse survey found that 86 percent of schools had developed written plans to cope with pandemic disease outbreaks in 2022, nearly twice as many as in 2017-18, when 46 percent had such plans.

Nearly all schools reported training teachers in positive behavioral-intervention strategies, and more than 80 percent of schools had trained their teachers to recognize bullying and signs of self-harm or suicidal thoughts and to intervene in crises.

Still, a rising number of principals—60 percent—said insufficient teacher training in classroom management limits their ability to reduce student misbehavior.

Rising use of school security officers

Half of public schools reported using a school resource officer—a police officer stationed on campus—at least once a week, and another 12 percent of schools reported using a different kind of sworn law-enforcement officer. That’s an overall increase from 42 percent in 2017. More than 50 school districts canceled their contracts with local law enforcement in the wake of the 2020 murder of George Floyd at the hands of police, but others schools ramped up their use of the officers following school shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and other places. NCES found about 3 percent of schools reported using multiple full-time SROs every week, and more than half of SROs and other security staff now wear body cameras.

The vast majority of school leaders who had resource officers said they strongly believe the law-enforcement officials have a positive impact on their schools. However, NCES found principals at schools that serve 75 percent or more students of color were 10 percentage points less likely to find their SROs beneficial on campus, compared with principals of schools whose populations included only a quarter students of color, 63 percent to 73 percent.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety Opinion How Do Restorative Practices Work?
Traditional punitive measures tend to reap more misbehavior.
13 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
School Climate & Safety What Helped These K-12 Leaders After School Shootings
School shootings leave deep and lasting impact on the community, including those charged with leading students and staff in the aftermath.
5 min read
School staff cheer as students returned to in-person classes at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, following a shooting on Oct. 24, 2022, that killed a student and a teacher. Kacy Shahid, then the school's principal, faced the challenge of guiding the school community through recovery as she struggled herself to process the events.
School staff cheer as students returned to in-person classes at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, following a shooting on Oct. 24, 2022, that killed a student and a teacher. Kacy Shahid, then the school's principal, faced the challenge of guiding the school community through recovery as she struggled herself to process the events.
Jim Salter/AP
School Climate & Safety Another State Will Let Teachers Carry Guns. What We Know About the Strategy
Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill allowing teachers to carry guns with administrators' permission a year after the Covenant School shooting.
5 min read
People protest outside the House chamber after legislation passed that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.
People protest outside the House chamber after legislation passed that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee could join more than 30 other states in allowing certain teachers to carry guns on campus. There's virtually no research on the strategy's effectiveness, and it remains uncommon despite the proliferation of state laws allowing it.
George Walker IV/AP
School Climate & Safety Video WATCH: Columbine Author on Myths, Lessons, and Warning Signs of Violence
David Cullen discusses how educators still grapple with painful lessons from the 1999 shooting.
1 min read