Resources for School Safety

Published in SEDL Letter Volume VIII, Number 2, August 1995, School Safety
Regional educational laboratories, R&D centers, educational research organizations, and universities produce books, reports, and other products that are useful if you are working to make your school a safer place

Educators Should Match Safety Programs and Policies to Their School's Situation

Rural Communities Deter Youth Violence and Substance Use with Comprehensive Development

NASBE Study Guide Recommends Safe School Practices for Policymakers

Practical Blueprints Help Educators Deal with Campus Violence

Educators Should Match Safety Programs and Policies to Their School's Situation

A guide to violence prevention programs and policies suggests that educators adopt programs and policies tailored to their school's unique needs, resources, and safety goals.

Educators most concerned with responding to emergencies and restoring campus safety might place priority on developing crisis management plans. In other schools, unannounced locker searches, metal detectors, surveying trouble areas with closed-circuit television, and security officers may be more appropriate, write researchers Robert Linquanti and Beth Ann Berliner.

In less dire situations, educators might implement programs that teach students prosocial behaviors and skills. Conflict resolution programs, for example, teach students to work cooperatively, make fair decisions, and solve problems peacefully. Multicultural and bias identification programs target the racial and ethnic prejudices that are often at the core of violence. Some curricula emphasize students taking responsibility for their actions and caring for one another. Instruction may also focus on building students' moral reasoning and decision-making skills.

As part of their comprehensive, long-term prevention program, educators should view students as a resource. Educators can give students opportunities to help each other through peer tutoring programs and to help society though community service programs, assert the researchers.

Source: Rebuilding Schools as Safe Havens: A Typology for Selecting and Integrating Violence Prevention Strategies is available from the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 101 SW Main St., Ste. 500, Portland, OR 97204-3297. Cite order no. NL-195-NE, 37 pp.

Rural Communities Deter Youth Violence and Substance Use with Comprehensive Development

Violence and substance use are often perceived as urban problems while rural communities are imagined as free of violent crime and insulated from gangs and drugs. But that's not so, according to a new book on the nature and extent of violence and drug use in rural America.

The authors agree that overcoming myths about rural areas is the first step toward crime prevention and intervention. They discuss factors contributing to rural crime and drug use and suggest deterrence methods.

These problems are not "imports" from cities but result from changes in rural communities, says the book. Change is at the root of problems facing rural communities, but community revitalization can become a powerful tool for combating these difficulties. Effective prevention and intervention efforts require accurate information about individual communities.

A community development approach suggests collaboration among rural communities and researchers, deterrence agencies, universities, education, and others. One such partnership, between the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and two small Wisconsin cities, is profiled.

Source: Perspectives on Violence and Substance Use in Rural America is available from the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1900 Spring Rd., Ste. 300, Oak Brook, IL 60521-1480. Cite order no. P94-001-PVS, 176 pp.

NASBE Study Guide Recommends Safe School Practices for Policymakers

The National Association of State Boards of Education has released its recommendations for education policymakers who are confronting the violence that threatens children and youth. Defining "school violence" as "societal violence that has penetrated the schoolhouse walls," the report says the role of the school in violence prevention is "indeed a critical one."

The NASBE study advocates a communitywide response to youth violence, prompting educators and state officials to create safe, supportive school climates for students and staff. It promotes long-term implementation of ethics, conflict resolution, and peer mediation curricula that teach young people to handle anger and disagreements nonviolently. Rather than expelling disruptive students, educators should provide alternative education programs that incorporate challenging academic and counseling components.

State boards of education can also do their part by developing detailed statewide plans to deal with violence against youth and children, advises the report. Such plans should foster safety in school cultures, provide for counseling and similar intervention programs as needed, and encourage collaboration among schools, state agencies, and community organizations.

At the same time, "state boards must assure that a continuum of sanctions is available for children and youth who have been disruptive or delinquent," the report says.

A Checklist for Action concludes three of the four chapters in the report.

Source: Schools Without Fear: The Report of the NASBE Study Group on Violence and Its Impact on Schools and Learning is available from the National Association of State Boards of Education, Publications, 1-12 Cameron St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Cite title when ordering, 32 pp.

Practical Blueprints Help Educators Deal With Campus Violence

Curbing school violence and coping with its aftermath are the topics of two publications from the SouthEastern Regional Vision for Education (SERVE).

The first, Hot Topics: Reducing School Violence, advises administrators to establish detailed procedures for dealing with violent situations before violence strikes. Then, should a crisis arise, they can defuse it swiftly and preserve the school's learning environment. A plan for instituting communication links between students, faculty, and the media is included as well as specific programs for counseling and enforcing the school conduct code.

Administrators are encouraged to combine physical security measures, such as metal detectors and guards, with effective counseling to help students control anger and solve problems nonviolently.

The second publication, Reducing School Violence: Building Resiliency: A Framework for School Safety is a newly released expansion of Reducing School Violence. It is designed to help teachers, school principals, district administrators, resource personnel, and parents overcome the aftereffects of violence and disruption while enhancing school safety.

Blending usable research and successful practice, this publication offers strategies and options for establishing a framework for school safety, preventing school violence, and responding to violent incidents. Exemplary local, state, and national programs are highlighted. An examination of current research and a discussion of assessment and planning elements provide a context for identifying school safety needs and ways to address those needs.

Source: Reducing School Violence: Building Resiliency: A Framework for School Safety is available from the SouthEastern Regional Vision for Education, Rte. 1, Box 8500, 3841 Reid St., Palatka, FL 32177. Cite title(s) with order plus $2.50 shipping for orders of $30 or less.

Please make checks to NEFEC/SERVE.

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