In 2018, a survey conducted by Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) found that 34 percent of parents fear for the safety of their children at school. Only five years ago, the number was at 12 percent. This is the highest number of fearful parents that PDK has seen since 1998, when the survey was released in the wake of three tragic school shootings that occurred within months of each another.
With so much heartbreak surrounding our schools in recent years, it is reasonable for parents to wonder if public schools are safe for their children anymore. Despite the media attention on the tragedies that are terrifying to students, educators, and parents alike, it is important to take a step back and remember the strides that are being taken to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.
Strides Towards Increased School Safety
Earlier this month, the National Center for Education Statistics released the 21st installment of the Indicators of School and Crime Safety report. Though the report reveals many areas where improvement is still needed, there are also many positive trends, especially regarding safety and security measures taken by public schools in recent years. Increased safety measures include:
- Security camera usage: The number of public schools that reported using security cameras was only 19 percent in 1999-2000. This number has significantly increased, with the percentage of schools reporting the use of security cameras rising to 81 percent in 2015-2016.
- Controlled building access: In the 1999-2000 school year, 75 percent of public schools reported controlling access to school buildings. By 2015-2016, this number rose to 94 percent.
- Procedures for natural disasters: 96 percent of public schools reported having plans in place for the event of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or tornado, during the 2015-2016 school year.
- Procedures for security threats: In 2015-2016, 94 percent of public schools indicated having a plan in place in the event of a bomb threat or other safety incident. Additionally, the percentage of schools that have procedures in place for school shooting emergencies has steadily increased over time, with 79 percent of school reporting having procedures in 2003-2004 and 92 percent of schools reporting having procedures in 2015-2016.
- Emergency procedure drills: In addition to having emergency plans in place, 95 percent of schools reported drilling students on selected emergency procedures during the 2015-2016 school year. More specifically, 92 percent of public schools drilled students on emergency evacuation procedures, and 76 percent of schools drilled students on lockdown or shelter-in-place procedures.
New Solutions for Public School Safety
This increase in safety measures reported by public schools has also been augmented by new technologies designed for school safety. In response to the rise of school-related tragedies, there are more safety-related products developed to protect students and educators than ever before. At School Safety Solution, we are on the frontlines of producing and distributing important school solutions that keep students safe. From lockdown shades to classroom emergency supplies, School Safety Solution has a variety of products designed by educators for educators. To learn more about the products available for your school, shop our inventory or request a quote today!