How Schools Improve Safety - Liberty

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

How Schools Improve Safety


The majority of public schools in the United States control access to school grounds as well as school buildings during school hours. A new security fence surrounds Dalton Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Tamil Khalifa.

When Adam Lane became the principal of Haines Municipal High School eight years ago, little could be done to stop attackers from breaking into the school. The school is located in central Florida near orange Grove, livestock farms, and cemeteries.

The school is now surrounded by a 10-foot fence and access to the grounds is carefully controlled with specific gates. Visitors must press the buzzer to enter the front office. Over 40 cameras monitor vital areas.

New federal data released Thursday provides insight into how schools have improved security over the past five years. more often.

About two-thirds of U.S. public schools now control access to school grounds as well as buildings, starting about half in the 2017-2018 school year. An estimated 43% of public schools have a "panic button" or silent alarm that leads directly to the police in an emergency, up from 29% five years ago. And according to survey data released by the National Center for Education Statistics, a research agency of the US Department of Education, the proportion of classrooms equipped with locks has increased from 65% to 78%.

Nearly one-third of public schools report conducting nine or more evacuation drills per year.

Some of the most controversial practices have also grown but are less prevalent. Random metal detector use was reported in 9% of public schools, and daily use was reported in 6%. It has been. And while many schools have on-campus police, only 3% of public schools report arming teachers and other non-security personnel.

This data was collected in a survey of over 1,000 public schools in November.

Despite the billions of dollars that schools spend on security, the number of school shootings continues to rise. According to police, a first grader who was just six years old brought a gun from home and used it to seriously injure a teacher.

More than 330 people were fatally shot or injured on school property last year, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database, a research project that tracks cases of guns being fired or brandished on school property. , up from 218 in 2018. The total number of incidents, sometimes including cases where no one was injured, increased from about 120 in 2018 to more than 300, and just 22 in 1999, the year of the Columbine High School shooting. . Killed 13 people.

The increase in gun violence comes amid a more widespread increase in mass shootings and gun deaths in the United States. Overall, the school is still pretty safe.

His tracker has identified 300 schools with gun incidents in the last year. This is just a small fraction of approximately 130,000 schools in the United States. School shootings account for less than 1% of all gun deaths suffered by American children.

However, with the increasing number of victims, schools have a responsibility not only to educate, feed, and advise children, but also to protect them from harm. Best practices include simple solutions such as locking classroom doors and restricting access to schools.

But many "deterrence" measures, such as metal detectors, transparent rucksacks, and armed staff on campus, have not been shown to prevent shootings reliably, experts say. Other tools, such as security cameras and panic buttons, may help temporarily interrupt the violence, but they cannot forestall a shooting.

Mark Zimmerman, co-director of the University of Michigan's National Center for School Safety, said of many safety measures, "There's not a lot of evidence that they work." It may be threatening to do so. That's not prevention."

Security enhancements also come with their risks. A recent study found that Black students were four times more likely to be enrolled in advanced surveillance schools than students of other races, and students in these schools had lower academic performance and suspensions as a result of these measures. It turns out that you can pay the "safety tax".

Experts say the most effective time to stop school shootings is before guns are brought onto campus.

Frank, director of the Center for Targeted Violence Prevention at the Police Research Institute, studies school shooting avoidance because most school shootings are committed by current or recent students. Mr. Straub said: Classmates often state that they are the best people to notice and report threats.

"We need to be better aware of the struggling K-12 students," he said. "And that's expensive. It's very difficult to prove you prevented ."

But most school shootings are mass attacks, not premeditated.

Riedman of the K-12 School Shooting Database said: He pointed to an increase in shootings across the country and said data showed more adults carrying guns onto school campuses.

Christy Barrett, superintendent of the Hemet Unified School District in Southern California, says that whatever she does, 22,000 students and thousands of employees in her sprawling district, spread across 28 schools, are at potential risk. I believe it is. I know it cannot be ruled out. Almost 700 square miles.

However, she is proactive and has adopted a policy of locking all classroom doors for several years.

The district is also in the midst of a transition to electronic door locks, which she hopes will reduce "human variables" and fumbling with keys in times of crisis. ,” she said.

School officials also occasionally rolled out random metal detector searches at some high schools, with mixed results.

The device sometimes flagged harmless items such as school binders but was unarmed when the device was not in use. She said the search wasn't focused on a specific group, but acknowledged broader concerns about the different effects school surveillance could have on students of color.

All middle and high schools in the district have conventional systems specifically designed to detect metal in firearms. "Every student goes through it," she said, adding that no guns had been confirmed so far this year.

She said every school has a counselor who deals with the mental health of students. will flag them so that we can better identify children in need.

She reaffirmed that recent horrific shootings at schools in Parkland, Fla., Santa Fe, Texas, and Uvalde, Texas, have not spurred security upgrades.

"It was kind of a 'don't be lazy' reinforcement," she said.