According to a recent report from the Department of Education, schools across the nation continue to get safer as security measures have evolved over the years. School safety has become a hot button issue in many parts of the country as students and their parents demand that these issues be addressed. The report, compiled from multiple federal data sources by the U.S. Education and Justice departments, shows that these efforts have led to improvements on many measures since the early 1990s.
The report shows that violence in schools has declined in nearly all measures. Adolescents were 82 percent less likely to be the victim of crimes at school in 2014 than they were in 1992. About 3 percent of students ages 12 to 18 said they were victims of crimes at school in 2014. Postsecondary institutions reported a 34 percent decline in crimes between 2001 and 2013. The number of violent deaths among students, nonstudents and staff members at U.S. private and public schools fell from 63 violent deaths in the 2006-2007 school year to 53 during the 2012-2013 school year.
The report also shows that bullying and other nonfatal crimes have greatly decreased as well. The number of public schools reporting regular bullying fell to 16 percent in 2014 from 29 percent in 2000. Middle school students were more likely to be bullied than high school or elementary school students. The number of students who reported falling victim to nonfatal crimes, like theft and assault, has decreased 82 percent since 1992.
Over the years, school security measures and training have increased considerably. In the 2013- 2014 school year, 75 percent of public schools reported using security cameras. This is up from only 19 percent during the 1999-2000 school year. Nearly 90 percent of schools report that they have official plans in place in the event of a shooting and more than 9 in 10 controlled access to their buildings. Schools are also now requiring students to wear IDs and have mandated dress codes to try to make their campuses safer
These measures seems to be having an effect on students’ perception of their safety at school. According to the report, the percentage of students who reported being afraid of attack or harm at school or on the way to and from school fell from 12 percent in 1995 to 3 percent in 2013. However, parents still cite school safety as one of their top concerns. A survey by polling organization Gallup found that about 29 percent of parents polled say that they fear for their child’s physical safety while they are at school.