The February/March issue of the U.S. Department of Education’s “Community Update” newsletter, which focused on school safety, included the following tips for creating a safe school. The tips are taken from the department’s “1998 Annual Report on School Safety”:
1. Provide strong administrative support for assessing and enhancing school safety.
2. Redesign the school facility to eliminate dark, secluded, and unsupervised spaces.
3. Devise a system for reporting and analyzing violent and non-criminal incidents.
4. Design an effective school discipline policy.
5. Build a partnership with local law enforcement agencies.
6. Enlist trained school security professionals in designing and maintaining the school security system.
7. Train school staff, including support staff, in all aspects of violence prevention.
8. Provide all students with access to school psychologists or counselors.
9. Provide crisis response services.
10. Implement schoolwide education and training on avoiding and preventing violent behavior.
11. Use alternate school settings for educating violent and weapon-carrying students.
12. Create a climate of tolerance.
13. Provide appropriate educational services to all students.
14. Reach out to communities and businesses to assist in improving the safety of students.
15. Actively involve students in making decisions about school policies and programs.
16. Prepare an annual report on school crime and safety and distribute it to the public.
A complete list of strategies, including more information on each of the above suggestions, is available in the “1998 Annual Report on School Safety,” which can be downloaded from http://www.ed.gov/pubs/AnnSchoolRept98.
The February/March issue of “Community Update” also includes recent studies that point to declines in school violence, details of a comprehensive school safety effort in Wake County, N.C., and more. The full issue can be downloaded in PDF format from http://www.ed.gov/G2K/community/01-02.pdf.