• School Safety

    School policing may be problematic, but so are the alternatives

    Recently, the Gainesville City Commission announced plans to end city funding of school police, shifting the entire cost to the school district. The decision follows similar moves in a number of cities nationwide following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. Scaling back school police comes as an abrupt shift from decades of increasing police presence in schools. As of 2015, the latest year for which national data is available, almost half of all public schools nationwide had police present. Florida schools have been above the national average, with around three quarters of public schools reporting school police in 2018-19.

  • Equity

    Re-opened schools may look different, and that could be good

    The global pandemic ended the school year early for schools in Florida and much of the nation. Already, many are asking what schools will look like should they re-open in fall for the start of the next school year. It is, of course, too early to tell. But, many have suggested that classes could be limited to less than twelve students, that students may only be able to attend part-time, that physical attendance might be optional, that students might wear face masks all day and be restricted from close interaction with peers, and that hand washing and other disinfecting will be ubiquitous.

  • School Safety

    SRO’s Threats to Shoot Student Highlight Dangers of Police in Schools

    Recently, video emerged of an altercation between a New Port Richey high school student and his school resource officer (SRO). The video, which has spread rapidly online and received national news coverage, shows the student attempting to leave campus in a car while being blocked by the SRO and a school employee. The student is apparently attempting to leave campus to attend a dental appointment, for which his parent reports previously notifying the school. As the student attempts to maneuver his car around the SRO, the SRO threatens twice to shoot the student.

  • Equity

    Civics Education Should Reflect Diversity of Students

    At the end of January, Governor DeSantis announced that the Department of Education had completed its review of the K-12 academic standards and made recommendations for revisions. This is the latest in what has been a year long process moving towards the adoption of the new B.E.S.T. standards, a replacement for the Common Core-based Florida Standards. While the standards, as before, focus predominantly on mathematics and reading, a unique component is an emphasis on embedded civics instruction throughout the K-12 years.

  • School Safety

    School resource officers aren’t arrested often – but when they are, it’s usually for sexual misconduct

    The presence of law enforcement in schools – better known as school resource officers – has become increasingly common. These officers, who have full law enforcement powers, are supposed to keep students safe. Earlier this year, however, a former Michigan school resource officer – Matthew Priebe – was convicted and sentenced to one year in jail for doing just the opposite.

  • School Safety

    No, We Are Not Facing a Crisis in School Safety

    With a recent report of a potential school shooter in Colorado preceding the two-decade anniversary of the Columbine shooting, public attention is again focused on school safety. After several high-profile school shootings last year, including those at Parkland, FL and Santa Fe, TX, it is easy to believe the narrative that schools face a safety crisis. Indeed, recent data suggest that most Americans see schools as less safe today than two decades ago.

  • School Safety

    How Columbine became a blueprint for school shooters

    Since the 1999 tragedy at Columbine High School, we identified six mass shootings and 40 active shooter incidents at elementary, middle or high schools in the United States. Mass shootings are defined by the FBI as an event in which four or more victims died by gunfire. In 20 – or nearly half – of those 46 school shootings, the perpetrator purposely used Columbine as a model.

  • Discipline,  Equity

    The Need to Look at the Entire Disciplinary Code of Conduct and a Visual Way to Do It

    Recently, Dr. Maida Finch of Salisbury University and I released a report in which we distilled each of Maryland's school districts' codes of conduct into a single visualization. Each is color coded to show alignment or misalignment with state recommendations. The visualizations allow for quick comparisons of disciplinary approaches across districts and to state recommendations.

  • Discipline,  School Safety

    School Discipline and Safety Presentations at AEFP

    The Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP)'s annual conference begins tomorrow. Ahead of the conference, I've compiled a listing of sessions and papers that pertain to school discipline and safety, based on a keyword search of the program for terms like "discipline", "suspension", "safety", "crime", and "violence". Let me know if I overlooked any other relevant sessions.