Safe and Sound Schools Releases the State of School Safety Report 2019

Picture of Andrea Lebron By Andrea Lebron

  • SHARE

state of school safety report 2019Safe and Sound Schools' State of School Safety Report 2019 reveals disparities still exist in how school safety is perceived by students, parents, educators, public safety officials, and the general community. The key takeaway is that the failure to communicate school safety measures leaves students and parents in the dark.

Safe and Sound Schools is a national nonprofit organization founded by Michele Gay and Alissa Parker - two Sandy Hook mothers who lost their daughters in the tragic school shooting on December 14th, 2012. The organization’s mission is to “support school crisis preparedness, response, and recovery, and to protect every school and every student, every day”.

With the objective of discovering the state of school safety preparedness, the organization conducted its inaugural State of School Safety survey in 2018. The results of the survey exposed significant disparities between students, parents, educators, public safety officials, and the general community in how school safety is perceived.

  • Students generally felt unheard and that potential school safety issues were overlooked.
  • There was a lack of clear communication between educators and other stakeholder groups.
  • While educators, overall, felt more confident in their school’s ability to handle potential safety issues, other stakeholders felt less confident.
  • While most stakeholders felt that schools had sufficient funds to increase school safety precautions, educators felt the opposite.
  • There is a lack of awareness of safety issues in schools with fewer than 500 students.

Has the Situation Improved in 2019?

Not a great deal. Massive disparities still exist - or have grown wider - in certain areas. For example, 81% of educators believe their schools take student feedback on school safety seriously, while 57% of students disagree. With regards to how students perceive school safety, the majority of students claim their schools have a false sense of security, while the report's authors note the high percentage of “don´t knows” indicates a failure by educators to communicate school safety measures.

With regards to schools having the ability to handle potential safety issues, more than twice the number of parents than in 2018 disagreed with the statement “my school has the expertise to improve school safety”. The funding question was omitted from this year's survey, but a new question about reuniting parents and students after a safety incident saw a similar difference in opinions - 78% of educators claiming parents and students know how to reunite, but parents and students disagreeing.

Related Blog: SwiftReach Acquisition Introduces Complete K-12 School Safety  Communication Solution

The Reasons Why These Disparities Exist

The reasons why these disparities exist will likely vary according to which stakeholder you ask. However, there are some identifiable trends running throughout the State of School Safety Report that throw light on the disparities. Parents and students clearly have an increased awareness about school safety which has influenced how they perceive threats; although their highest ranked threat - an active shooter event - is statistically less likely to occur than any other option. Indeed, the report's authors commented:

“It is interesting to note that parents, who are the most responsible for mental health, and students, who are ones to experience a mental health emergency, are more worried about the perceived risk of an external threat that is statistically unlikely to occur.”

A number of other differences in perceived threats could account for why educators believe they are doing a good job while other stakeholders disagree. For example, for each 100 students with concerns about aggressive discrimination in schools there were only forty concerned educators. The discrepancy was even wider on the subject of sexual assault or abuse - four times as many students perceiving sexual assault and abuse as a threat than educators. (The full report can be downloaded here).

The Failure to Communicate is the Key Takeaway

The key takeaway from the report is that educators are failing to communicate with students and parents - particularly in relation to the availability mental health services. What makes this so significant is that - judging by educators' responses to the survey - a lot of time and effort has been made in making mental health services available, yet a high percentage of students and parents - particularly parents - are unaware of them as the following survey answers demonstrate:

School teaches me coping mechanisms for dealing with trauma

Agree

Don't Know

Disagree

 

Educators

47%

17%

36%

 

Parents

27%

33%

40%

 

Students

15%

10%

75%

My school provides effective stress management strategies

Agree

Don't Know

Disagree

 

Educators

41%

16%

43%

 

Parents

n/a

n/a

n/a

 

Students

21%

7%

72%

Knowledge of accessible mental health experts on staff

Agree

Don't Know

Disagree

 

Educators

80%

6%

14%

 

Parents

52%

18%

30%

 

Students

50%

7%

43%

 

Improving Communication in Schools will Improve School Safety

An improvement in communication in schools would result in each stakeholder understanding the others' concerns, would give parents and students a voice in school safety decision-making, and would hold schools more accountable for school safety. Better communication could also eliminate the perception that schools have a false sense of security and better inform parents and students about reunification after a safety incident and the availability of mental health services.

If you would like to know more about tried and tested methods of improving communication in schools, do not hesitate to get in touch. Our team of school safety experts will be happy to talk you through the Rave Mobile Safety range of communication solutions that not only improve communication within schools, but that can also accelerate emergency response and alert educators to events such as aggressive discrimination and sexual assault - something educators appear to be in the dark about.

New call-to-action

you may also like

Why Colleges and Universities Should Hire Veterans For Campus Safety Officers

For campus safety managers, hiring a team of safety officers and security personnel who are able to handle a range of emergency situations, from an active assailant on campus...

read more+

Written by Andrea Lebron

Andrea is Rave's Director of Digital Marketing, a master brainstormer and avid coffee drinker. Andrea joined Rave in August 2017, after 10 years of proposal and corporate marketing at an environmental engineering firm. You'll find her working with her amazing team in writing and producing blogs like this one, improving your journey to and through our website, and serving you up the best email content. When she's not in front of a keyboard, she's chasing after her three daughters or indulging in her husband's latest recipe. Andrea has a Bachelor's degree in Marketing/Management from Northeastern University and an MBA from Curry College.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR BLOG

Confidentiality Guaranteed 
Your information is never shared.

Webinar Recap

you may also like

Why Colleges and Universities Should Hire Veterans For Campus Safety Officers

For campus safety managers, hiring a team of safety officers and security personnel who are able to handle a range of emergency situations, from an active assailant on campus...

read more+

REQUEST MORE INFO

We'd love the opportunity to work with you.

Request