• 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.

  • 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.

  • 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,  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.

  • Book Review,  School Safety

    Book Review: We Say #NeverAgain – Reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists

    Just over a year ago, on February 14th, 2018, the lives of students at Parkland, FL’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were shattered by the violence of a mass school shooting. The Parkland shooting would draw national attention, much as previous events like the tragedies at Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary had in years before. And, sadly, it would become a backdrop for a number of other school shootings, including that in Santa Fe, Texas, that would occur before the year was through. The Parkland shooting, however, has emerged as unique for how students responded and engaged after the shooting. Students from Stoneman Douglas High have entered the…

  • Discipline,  Equity,  School Safety

    Recommendation to Give Teachers Guns Misses the Mark

    The Federal Commission on School Safety, which was formed in the wake of several high-profile mass school shootings earlier this year, released its final report earlier this month. The report recommends, among other things, that school districts consider increasing the presence of armed school staff. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the recommendation has been met with condemnation from both politicians on the left and public commentators. Detractors of the proposal contend that adding more guns to schools is not the solution to preventing violence. That said, the recommendation is not as universally condemned as the media may portray it. A recent poll by PDK suggests that half of the parents of primary and secondary education…

  • School Safety

    Chicago’s Safe Passage program costs a lot, but it may provide students safer routes to school

    While walking to school last month, a 15-year-old Chicago girl was confronted by two masked men in a van with tinted windows in an attempted kidnapping. Fortunately, the girl escaped and ran to a nearby adult. The men drove off. As it turns out, the presence of this adult was more than a fortunate coincidence. For the past decade, Chicago Public Schools has been placing hundreds of adult monitors on streets around schools as part of a program called Safe Passage. Every morning and afternoon, Safe Passage monitors take up position along designated routes near a quarter of Chicago’s schools in neighborhoods with some of the highest rates of crime.…