After two years of high-profile incidents, school safety has been a top priority for school district leaders, school boards, and communities around the country. Some statistics report there have been 25 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2019; that follows 103 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2018, including some highly publicized tragedies in Florida and Texas.
Superintendents and their cabinets continue to face increasing pressure to "do something" to improve the safety and security of the students and schools for which they are responsible. Funding has been legislated, and grants have been dispersed, but many district leaders struggle to know where to begin or what to do to truly make a difference in school safety for their district.
Hundreds of articles across dozens of publications have reported some tactics different districts have been taking to bolster safety. Most widely reported figures estimate nearly $1 billion over 10 years was designated by Congress to improve school safety—and that money is being spent on a myriad of safety products, devices, hardware, and software.
Devices like metal detectors, door barricades, and bullet-resistant window film have been implemented in some schools. Others have invested in more video cameras, school resource officers, or advanced entry systems. While many districts are allocating funds to 'harden' schools, some are investing in more training for school police officers and staff. Still others are implementing new communication tools, alerts and panic buttons.
With so many options, and the pressure of wanting to do what's best with the funding available, it can be virtually impossible to know where to start.
If you find yourself in that position, try this new school safety self-assessment. We designed this tool to help define where your district and schools are related to contemporary school safety standards today, and it helps identify areas you can prioritize to make improvements. In short, it can help narrow the scope of school safety and point you in the right direction to get started on your improvement plans.
Take five minutes to assess where you are and get your personalized blueprint to improve school safety in your district.