The Hamilton Fish Institute report recommends the following “action steps” for discussion among policymakers and school administrators:
• Researchers should explore the problem of underreporting in focus groups and interviews with school personnel and students.
• Government and private industry should fund demonstrations of accurate, school-based monitoring systems for school violence and weapon-carrying, including products such as GBA Systems’ SSP (http://www.schoolsafetysoftware.com) or Report-It.com (http://www.report-it.com), along with broader information-gathering networks.
• School incident reporting records should be audited by state education agencies (or their vendors) through the use of anonymously administered student surveys, such as the valid and reliable National School Crime and Safety Survey (http://www.hamfish.org/ pub/pubnatsur.php3).
• Congress should reexamine the current Gun Free Schools Act (GFSA) reporting process conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and work with that agency to improve the accuracy of reporting.
• Specific amendments to the GFSA may be required to assure compliance with accurate reporting.
• Options for preventing the flow of guns and other weapons into schools should be closely evaluated using rigorous scientific methods that include intervention and comparison groups.
• Options for detecting and removing firearms and other weapons from school grounds should be similarly examined. Weapons confiscated by school officials should be immediately removed from the school building to prevent students from gaining access to them.
• Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles, which center on designing new buildings and modifying existing school structures to minimize opportunities for criminal activity, should be implemented. Examples of these principles include redesigning schools to eliminate drop ceilings and other places where guns can be hidden, and maintaining low and prickly vegetation near school buildings to prevent the ability to hide weapons or weapon-carrying assailants.
• Adults, including school personnel (other than security officers), should not be allowed to carry weapons to school (regardless of concealed carry permits) as a means of preventing students from gaining access to their guns.
• Options for preventing unsupervised access to firearms among youth should be closely evaluated using rigorous scientific methods. n
(Source: “School-based Surveillance of Violence, Injury, and Disciplinary Actions,” 2000)