Rethinking school safety: What does the data tell us? - Carl Hermanns ASU
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Santa Fe High School It’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here too.
The data: 1999 - 2018 The Washington Post Since 1999, at least 141 children, educators and other people have been killed in assaults, and another 287 have been injured. Over the past 19 years, 428 people have been killed or injured in school shootings There are approximately 50 million K-12 public school students https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/local/school-shootings-database/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.cc1387c6323d
The data: 2018 2018 school shooting statistics Education Week https://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedi a/school-shootings-this-year-how-many-and- where.html.
Conclusions from the data Although schools are statistically one of the safest places kids can be, it doesn’t feel that way due to the “It’s been happening everywhere. random nature of I’ve always kind of felt like these events - and eventually it was going to happen perception is reality here too.”
Conclusions from the data After Columbine, even though incidents of school violence had been steadily dropping since 1993 (NCES), it didn’t feel that way. One result was the COPS in Schools program, which increased the number of SRO’s in schools by 38% over the next 8 years.
Conclusions from the data Over the next 18 years, a number of additional approaches were instituted in an effort to keep schools safe, including: Threat assessments Metal detectors Secure campus entrances Safety drills Security cameras How are we continuing to grapple with this today?
Active shooting drills “School shooting drills became the new normal after Columbine” Public school Active Shooter drills 2003-04: 46.5% 2013-14: 70.3% 2015-16: 94.6%* NCES: 2015-16 = ”lockdown drills” – a broader category that includes, but is not limited to, active shooter response https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/16/17016382/school-shooting-drills-training
Calculating the risk of getting shot Students raised with the persistence of mass shootings and versed in the protocol of active shooter drills think often of the possibility of a shooting in their schools ...even running scenarios in their heads about how likely they are to get shot. They calculate escape routes. And they ponder hiding spots in wide-open classrooms. “It’s like the front lines of a war,” said Emily Rubinstein, a sophomore at a New York high school. “Being seated in front of the classroom could be what makes you live and what makes you die.” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/20/us/school-shootings-drills-risks.html
STOP School Violence Act Appropriates $50 million/year for 10 years to: Provide training to identify and intervene to stop school violence Improve school security technology and infrastructure to deter and respond to threats of school violence Develop and operate threat assessment and crisis intervention teams Facilitate coordination between schools and local law enforcement
Texas Governor’s plan At the heart of the governor’s proposal is “hardening” schools like Santa Fe as targets by: Guarding them with increased police presence, and Persuading more school districts to join existing state programs for arming school staff. The governor also proposes: Texas Governor Greg Providing active shooter Abbott announced a training, and new school safety plan Including a heavy emphasis on on May 30, 2018 expanded mental health screening and on-campus counseling. https://www.texastribune.org/2018/05/30/texas-gov-greg-abbott-santa-fe-shooting-school-safety-plan-gun-laws/
High-tech security Schools are spending billions on high-tech security The uncertainty over how to prevent school shootings and the horrifying consequences of failing to do so – has created a business opportunity. School districts are staking their hopes on high-tech security systems originally developed for the military, police and private industry, and are driving a rapidly growing school security market, which has ballooned to a multibillion-dollar industry. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/schools-are-spending-billions-high-tech-security-are-students-any-n875611
High-tech security Schools are spending billions on high-tech security Digitized building layouts paired with surveillance cameras allows police to get to the source of a problem quickly. “It’s about expediency. The sooner the police get there, the sooner the carnage ends.” “You cannot predict where this is going to happen. You can’t sit and think, ‘Phew that won’t happen here,’ because it absolutely could.” https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/schools-are-spending-billions-high-tech-security-are-students-any-n875611
High-tech security On the other hand Santa Fe High School was already using several security practices that are often proposed in the wake of school shootings. The school has two armed police officers patrolling a campus of 1,400 students. The staff is trained in emergency response, students practice lockdown and ”So what else could the active-shooter drills, and district have done to protect the school district has been teachers and students? praised by Texas officials for its safety program https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/05/30/a-deadly-school-year-35-people-killed.html?cmp=eml-enl-eu- news1&M=58500585&U=1965185
The Safe School Initiative report (2002) • The attackers came from a variety of family situations; almost two-thirds came from two-parent families • Wide range in academic achievement; the largest percentage (41%) were doing well in school • Varied in social relationships, from socially isolated to popular • Wide range in discipline histories; almost two-thirds (63%) were never, or rarely, in trouble at school; only 27% had ever been suspended • Only 1/3 of attackers had ever received a mental health evaluation; fewer than 1/5 had been diagnosed There is no one “profile” with a mental health or behavior disorder.
The Safe School Initiative report (2002) Commonalities: • Most had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal failures, and many (71%) felt bullied, persecuted, or injured by others. • Almost all (95%) were current students at the school where they carried out their attacks. • In many cases, other students knew about it, or were involved in some capacity. • Most had access to, and had used, weapons prior to the attack. • Age range is 11 to 21, with 85% but there are commonalities between 13 and 18 at the time of the attack. The median age is 16.
The Safe School Initiative report (2002) Conclusion: The focus of the Safe School Initiative was on examining the thinking, planning, and other behaviors engaged in by students who carried out school attacks. Particular attention was given to identifying pre-attack behaviors and communications that might be detectable – or “knowable” – and could help in preventing some future attacks. In light of the reports findings, the use of a threat assessment approach may be a promising strategy for preventing a school-based attack.
Threat Assessment in Schools (2004) “The vast majority of the nation’s students will complete their schooling without ever being touched by peer violence. Nevertheless, recent school attacks carried out by students have shaken the image of schools as reliably safe and secure environments in which the qualifications of teachers and the efficacy of the educational curricula are the most pressing concerns of educators and parents. Televised images of frightened and injured students fleeing school grounds have imprinted themselves on the American consciousness.”
Threat Assessment in Schools (2004) [These] highly publicized school shootings have created uncertainty about the safety and security of this country’s schools and generated fear that an attack might occur in any school, in any community. Increased national attention to the problem of school violence has prompted educators, law enforcement officials, mental health professionals, and parents to press for answers to two central questions: "Could we have known that these attacks were being planned?" and, if so, "What could we have done to prevent these attacks from occurring?"
Threat Assessment in Schools (2004) Threat Assessment: Drawing on the findings from the Safe School Initiative study, the threat assessment process relies primarily on an appraisal of behaviors, rather than on stated threats or traits, as the basis for determining whether there is cause for concern. Threat assessment is a process for identifying, assessing, and managing students who may have the intent and capacity to launch an attack and pose a threat of targeted violence in school.
19-year school shooting trajectory analysis INCIDENTS OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS 1999 – MAY, 2018 School Shootings Mean 18 17 16 1999: 7 16 15 14 2001: 13 13 13 13 14 13 12 12 2002: 5 12 11 2006: 15 10 2011: 7 10 8 9 9 9 9 2014: 16 6 7 7 7 2015: 7 4 5 2018: 17 2 0 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/local/school-shootings-database/?utm_term=.1168e32e6a0b
19-year school shooting trajectory analysis INCIDENTS OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS 1999 – MAY, 2018 18 School Shootings Mean 17 16 15 16 Discussion: 14 13 13 13 14 12 12 13 What does this 12 11 data suggest? 10 10 Increased SRO presence 8 9 9 9 9 Metal detectors 6 7 7 Secure campus entrances 7 Safety/active shooter drills 4 5 Security cameras Threat assessments 2 ? 0 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/local/school-shootings-database/?utm_term=.1168e32e6a0b
The argument Everything we have been doing... Active shooter And other safety and emergency drills
The argument Threat assessment process Security enhancements
The argument ...is necessary, but not sufficient
The argument We focused on the implementation of concrete steps for “identifying, addressing, and managing students who may have the intent and capacity to launch an attack and pose a threat of targeted violence in school” A reactive stance We largely ignored the report’s recommendations on school climate and culture
The argument Excerpts on culture and climate from the Threat Assessment Guide handout Effective threat assessment can only occur in a larger context of school safety. Cultures and climates of safety, respect, and emotional support can help diminish the possibility of targeted violence in schools. In an educational setting where there is a climate of safety, adults and students respect each other. Ideally when this climate of safety is created, students experience a sense of emotional "fit."
The argument Targeted school violence is arguably only the tip of the iceberg of pain, loneliness, desperation, and despair that many students in this nation’s schools deal with on a daily basis The threat assessment process by itself is unlikely to have a lasting effect on the problem of targeted school violence unless that process is implemented in the larger context of strategies to ensure that schools offer their students safe and secure learning environments.
The argument Connection through human relationships is a central component of a culture of safety and respect. This connection is the critical emotional glue among students, and between students and adults charged with meeting students’ educational, social, emotional, and safety needs. The principal objective of school violence-reduction strategies should be to create cultures and climates of safety, respect, and emotional support within educational institutions.
The argument To work effectively, safe school climates that create relationships of respect and connection between adults and students must be accepted as integral to the mission of threat assessment and management, and understood from the top down as integral to the success of the learning experience.
The argument Reflection: relationships of respect Has your district and connection emphasized the guide’s between adults and recommendations for students authentic relationship integral to the and connection among mission of threat students and between assessment students and teachers at its integral to the schools? success of the learning experience. If so, what does it look like? If we haven’t, why?
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