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Federal statistics show that schools are bolstering security efforts

Jan. 15, 2023
Numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics show that schools have been turning to new protocols and equipment to counteract violence.

More schools across the nation have installed security cameras, added locks inside classrooms and stepped up other security measures, according to new federal data.

The Washington Post reports that the data compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics paint a portrait of schools increasingly turning to new protocols and equipment to keep violence at bay.

Schools that said that they had installed panic buttons or silent alarms with a direct connection to law enforcement jumped to 43% in November 2022, up from 29% during the 2017-18 school year.

Nearly 65% of schools now have anonymous or confidential threat-reporting systems — up 15 percentage points during the same period. And half of schools say they have school resource officers on their campuses at least once a week — a number that was up 5 percentage points.

The NCES report stems from a survey administered to more than 1,000 schools and largely answered by principals.

Among the findings that stood out: By far, most schools had written plans for handling active shooters, natural disasters, hostage situations, bomb incidents, suicide threats, and post-crisis reunification of students with their families.

Just 46% of schools made plans for handling pandemics five years ago. Since the Covid-19 crisis, 82% do.

 Other school practices were on the rise. Nearly all schools — 97%— reported controlling access to school buildings during the day, but they also reported a 15-point increase — to 66% — in the percentage of schools that control access to school grounds during the day.

There was also an uptick in schools that said they train teachers about self-harm and suicidal tendencies, recognizing bullying behaviors, discipline policies about alcohol and drug use, and recognizing early warning signs of violent behavior.

Training on signs of mental health disorders that may require intervention or referral increased most, to 82% from 60%.

More than 80% of schools reported they provide an electronic notification system to alert parents of an emergency — up 9 points — and 92% use security cameras, up 8 points.

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