School Safety & Security

Overview

School Safety & Security

School is one of the safest places for children and adolescents to spend their days. Even so, risks still exist, whether that involves bullying, fights, bomb threats or armed campus intruders.

School is one of the safest places for children and adolescents to spend their days. Even so, risks still exist, whether that involves bullying, fights, bomb threats or armed campus intruders.

School violence and bullying are detrimental to students’ academic performance and can carry lifelong negative consequences to their physical and mental health, including drug use and a higher risk of suicide. It’s no surprise, then, that polls have consistently found that school safety and security are top of mind for parents and students. 

Today, school districts maintain “emergency operations plans” that help educators prepare for, respond to, and recover from a range of dangerous situations, such as campus intruders, bomb threats and even infectious disease outbreaks. All states maintain anti-bullying rules, with laws generally requiring schools to create prevention procedures. Sworn police, known as school resource offers, roam the halls of many schools (especially at the middle and high school levels). Administrators deploy a range of security and surveillance technology — often at large expense — from door locks and metal detectors to surveillance cameras and digital platforms that monitor student activities online. Yet, even as schools have generally become safer in recent years, the topic remains controversial.

For reporters, school safety and security can become a top priority the second the newsroom police scanner begins to chatter. Journalists are tasked with covering everything from breaking news about campus crime to watchdog investigative reporting that holds officials accountable for ensuring the safety of kids every day. 

Safety a Top Priority for Educators

When people think about safety and security measures to keep children and educators safe, their minds often jump to perhaps the most devastating form of violence: Mass school shootings. The topic evokes the gut-wrenching memories of tragedies such as Columbine, Sandy Hook and Parkland. 

These statistically rare incidents often drive divisive political debates and generate front-page headlines. But other — more commonplace — safety and security issues are daily challenges. From playground fights and cyberbullying to shootings and natural disasters, the wide range of scenarios require school leaders to be ready. This often includes threat assessment policies (and teams) for assessing and intervening when student behavior poses a risk to peers or faculty. In addition, extensive emergency plans allow school staff and first responders to react quickly, appropriately and decisively when the need arises. 

As you report on this critical topic, the following modules offer a brief history of school safety and security in the U.S., key research and a few story ideas to help get you started. 

Updated July 2021.

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Data/Research: School Safety & Security

Following you’ll find a selection of key data and research to better understand school safety and security issues. 

School Safety 

SchoolSafety.gov offers a brief overview and federal resources on multiple school safety issues, including the creation of emergency response plans, combating cyberbullying and strategies that help schools recover after tragedies. 

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History and Background: School Safety & Security

Each year, public schools in the U.S. collectively spend billions of dollars to keep students and educators safe. Although security measures have evolved and expanded dramatically in the last several decades — and become far more expensive — the need to protect students and staff is nothing new.

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5 Story Ideas: School Safety & Security

Assessing emergency preparedness plans: School districts maintain comprehensive emergency preparedness and response plans that highlight a range of potential scenarios that could unfold on campus. For example, such contingency plans often focus on responding to active shooters, tornadoes and gas leaks. When did the districts in your area last make substantive revisions to these plans and what local or national scenarios led to those changes? Were consultants hired to make recommendations, and how were those “experts” vetted?

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A Security Mindset

The strategies that officials use to provide campus safety — like school-based policing, student surveillance and discipline policies, including suspensions — have long been the subject of passionate disagreements. Schools’ “zero tolerance” policies have prescribed strict discipline, including expulsions and arrests to punish students, but in recent years, educators have turned to strategies like “restorative justice” to address misbehavior. 

Source: Flickr/cdsessums (CC BY 2.0)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

School Discipline Policies Can Backfire

If tough school discipline measures are meant to maintain stability in the classroom, then a new definition of stable might be in order: A new study argues high use of suspensions and expulsions brings down all students – even the ones who behave well.

A researcher with the Albert Shanker Institute flagged the study, which was published this month in the American Sociological Review. Here’s more on the paper from the Shanker Institute scholar Esther Quintero:

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It’s About Time
Learning Time and Educational Opportunity in California High Schools

IT’S ABOUT TIME draws on a statewide survey to examine how learning time is distributed across California high schools. The survey, conducted by UCLA IDEA during the 2013-2014 school year, included a representative sample of nearly 800 teachers. Survey findings highlight inequalities in the amount of time available for learning across low and high poverty High Schools.  Community stressors and chronic problems with school conditions lead to far higher levels of lost instructional time in high poverty high schools. 

Source: Flickr via Eric E. Castro
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latino, Black Students Disciplined More Harshly Than Other Students

Ever since my second week living in the District of Columbia, when I found myself alone on a commuter train the conductor had apparently deemed malfunctioning while I was lost in my music, I like to keep all five senses focused on my surroundings.

But on Monday, I decided to give the headphones another try. I’d heard good things about the podcast “This American Life” and decided to download the latest episode from Oct. 17 – “Is This Working?”

By Neon Tommy (originally posted to Flickr as Jerry Brown) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Blog: The Educated Reporter

In California, the Tide Shifts on ‘Willful Defiance’ Discipline

California has limited schools’ ability to suspend or expel students for “willful defiance,” passing a law over the weekend that curbed the practice.

Approved by Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown, the measure is considered the first statewide law in the nation to apply limits on a school’s ability to punish a student for “willful defiance” – a catch-all term that many social justice advocates say disproportionately targets minority students for allegedly disobeying school officials.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Moving the Wrong Way on Student Health?

There’s a section in the new Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll out this week that hasn’t gotten much attention: what parents think about schools and student health. (You can read my overview of the full poll, which focuses heavily on questions about teacher quality and preparation, here.)

U.S. Army Photo by Gary L. Kieffer
Does your school district own a grenade launcher?
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Does Your School District Own Grenade Launchers?

Prompted by the controversy over the type of equipment the Ferguson police department used during protests over the death of Michael Brown, news organizations across the country started requesting information about a U.S. Department of Defense program that provided police departments with defense equipment.

Why should education reporters care?

Some of those police departments happen to belong to school districts, colleges and universities.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Los Angeles Schools End Zero Tolerance Discipline Policy

For years, students attending the Los Angeles Unified School District could earn citations from police officers for behaviors such as fighting.

The criminalization of routine offenses committed by students now appears to be coming to an end. The school system announced this week that it would stop giving citations for such offenses, and would instead focus on programs for students who misbehave.

EWA Radio

To Avoid Suspension, Students Talk It Out
EWA Radio, Episode 9

In Texas, a state known for its zero-tolerance approach to school discipline, 80 percent of its prisoners are high school dropouts. And as more research finds a link between suspensions and quitting school early, the evidence is mounting that keeping kids from learning for behavioral reasons hurts their academic outcomes. Against this backdrop is White Middle School in central Texas.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Schools Increasing Focus on Student Mental Health

More students are walking into classrooms with high stress levels than in previous generations, but a few innovative schools are helping kids cope with these challenges and succeed academically.

For students who have experienced trauma at home, nothing replaces a caring adult at school, said Bill Bond, the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ specialist for school safety. And teachers the most likely to provide counseling at school, said Bond during an EWA National Seminar panel discussion on student mental health.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Denver Group Sees Improvement in Colorado School Discipline Data

An organization of Latino parents and youth has released a new report praising Colorado for progress the state has made in the discipline of Latino students.

The group has been critical of how strict disciplinary policies can contribute to a “school-to-prison pipeline,” reports Fox News Latino. The organization previously accused Colorado schools of using zero tolerance policies that swept students of color into the legal system.

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School Discipline Data: A Snapshot of Legislative Action – CSG Justice Center

Research suggests that suspensions, expulsions, and other disciplinary actions that remove  youth from their classrooms put students at greater risk for poor academic and behavioral outcomes. These students are more likely to repeat a grade, drop out of school, receive future disciplinary actions, or become involved in the juvenile justice system. Youth of color, English Language Learners (ELLs), LGBT youth, and those with identified special education needs tend to experience exclusionary discipline actions at higher rates than their peers.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Do Students Suffer When Snow Days Pile Up?

I’m in Atlanta right now, where schools took every precaution to avoid a repeat of the logistical nightmare that unfolded two weeks ago when two inches of snow paralyzed the city. And with the roadways iced over and the precipitation piling up, it looks like education officials made the right decision.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Do Small Schools Work for Latinos?

Former New York CIty Mayor Michael Bloomberg viewed breaking up large failing high schools and creating smaller ones as one potential remedy to closing the achievement gap.

Now his successor, newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio will have the opportunity to reverse the program.

In a commentary piece for Education Week, University of California, Berkeley education professor Bruce Fuller writes that many of the smaller campuses just furthered segregation by race and class. Small schools sometimes have just 200 students.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Should Schools Nurture Students’ Emotional Intelligence?

The New York Times Magazine’s annual education issue is out, and as always there’s a healthy mix of policy, practice, real-world realities for schools and students, deep dives, and memorable profiles.I imagine Carlo Rotella’s lead story on No Child Left Untableted will get generate quite a bit of response in the classroom technology debate.But I was just as interested in Jennifer Kahn’s piece on the attempt to cultivate

How I Did the Story: Title IX and Sexual Assault on Campus
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How I Did the Story: Title IX and Sexual Assault on Campus

Justin Pope of the Associated Press talks about how he approached the timely and difficult topic of how universities are applying the Title IX gender discrimination law to sexual assault cases. Pope’s coverage won a special citation in Single-Topic News, Series or Feature in a Large Newsroom in EWA’s 2012 National Awards for Education Reporting.

How I Did the Story: Reporting From a Turnaround School in “Following Trevista”
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How I Did the Story: Reporting From a Turnaround School in “Following Trevista”

Jenny Brundin of Colorado Public Radio talks about following a group of teachers, administrators and students going through a turnaround effort at a failing school in Denver. “Trevista” was awarded first prize, Single-Topic News, Series or Feature in Broadcast in EWA’s 2012 National Awards for Education Reporting. Recorded at EWA’s 66th National Seminar, May 4, 2013, at Stanford University.

*Please note: Due to technical difficulties during recording, the audio in the first half of this video is distorted. There is nothing wrong with your speakers.

EWA Radio

Opportunity Gaps and Out of School Factors

Much attention has focused on achievement gaps among children from different demographic groups, and on teacher effectiveness as the chief in-school influence on student performance. But what about factors that carry more weight than teachers? And how can society close opportunity gaps often associated with widely decried achievement gaps in school? Sarah Garland, The Hechinger Report (moderator); Prudence Carter, Stanford Graduate School of Education; Michael Petrilli, Thomas B.

Webinar

Beyond Victims and Villains: Covering Bullying and Suicide
1 hour

In the wake of several high-profile cases involving students who took their own lives, states are focusing heavily on making bullying prevention programs mandatory in public schools. But how much of the responsibility really rests with educators, and what steps should the broader community be taking to help students make smarter choices about their own behavior on campus, after school, and online?

Key Coverage

Recess in Schools: Research Shows It Benefits Children

 Repeated studies have shown that when recess is delayed, children pay less and less attention. They are more focusedon days when they have recess. A major study in Pediatrics found that children with more than 15 minutes of recess a day were far better behaved in class than children who had shorter recess breaks or none at all.

EWA Radio

School Violence: What Can Reporters Uncover?

In many communities, campus violence and student discipline issues are ever-present concerns for educators struggling to make schools safe places to work and learn. Members of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team from The Philadelphia Inquirer and others discuss the newspaper’s year-long project on school violence and its impact on the community.

Webinar

Homeless Students: Covering the School Safety Net
1 Hour, 3 minutes

From Maine to California, school districts are reporting significant increases in the number of homeless students. Our webinar takes a closer look at the underlying issues, and also gives participants a blueprint for localizing this important story. Our presenters will include Barbara Duffield, policy director of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children; Pamela Hosmer, Program Manager for the San Diego Unified School District’s Children and Youth in Transition program; and Dr.

Alex Kotlowitz on “The Interrupters”
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Alex Kotlowitz on “The Interrupters”

The author of There Are No Children Here talks with Wall Street Journal education reporter and EWA President Stephanie Banchero about The Interrupters, a documentary he made with director Steve James. The film, which follows a group of anti-violence activists working in inner-city Chicago, airs on the PBS series Frontline Feb. 14, 2012.

For more information: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/interrupters

Recorded at EWA’s 64th National Seminar, held in April 2011 in New Orleans.

Key Coverage

New Rules Aim to Rid Schools of Junk Food

The Agriculture Department said Thursday that for the first time it will make sure that all foods sold in the nation’s 100,000 schools are healthier by expanding fat, calorie, sugar and sodium limits to almost everything sold during the school day.

That includes snacks sold around the school and foods on the “a la carte” line in cafeterias, which never have been regulated before. The new rules, proposed in February and made final this week, also would allow states to regulate student bake sales. 

Multimedia

President Obama: It Gets Better

President Obama: It Gets Better is part of a national campaign started in 2010 to reassure gay and lesbian teens—who face disproportionate bullying and commit suicide at higher than average rates—that they could overcome the abuse and other struggles. (The text of this post was written by the White House deputy director of public engagement.)

Organization

The National School Safety Center

The National School Safety Center “identifies and promotes strategies, promising practices and programs that support safe schools for all students as part of the total academic mission.” The NSSC worked with the U.S. Justice Department to create campus safety guidelines and practices for institutions following the shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University. The organization also works heavily with K-12 schools.

Organization

The National School Climate Center

The National School Climate Center, headquartered in New York City, focuses on the issue of creating a “positive and sustained school climate: a safe, supportive environment that nurtures social and emotional, ethical, and academic skills.” The center originally was founded in 1996 as part of the Teachers College, Columbia University.

Organization

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network “strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.” In addition to researching and compiling data regarding the school lives of LGBT students, the network also advocates actively on their behalf.

Organization

The Cyberbullying Research Center

The Cyberbullying Research Center “serves as a clearinghouse of information concerning the ways adolescents use and misuse technology.” Since it went online in 2005, the website—founded by two criminal justice professors—has been gathering news and other resources that could assist reporters covering the topic of digital bullying.

Key Coverage

Why Johnny Can’t Add Without a Calculator

This shortfall in mathematical preparation for college-bound students has existed for a long time, but it is being exacerbated by the increased use of technology. College-level math classes almost never use graphing calculators, while high-school classes invariably do. College professors want their students to understand abstract concepts; technology advocates claim their products help teach students such abstractions, but in practice they simply don’t.

Key Coverage

Helping or Hovering? When ‘Helicopter Parenting’ Backfires

As the first generation of overparented kids continues to graduate into the world, a slew of studies now show that youngsters whose parents intervene inappropriately — offering advice, removing obstacles and solving problems that kids should tackle themselves — actually wind up as anxious, narcissistic young adults who have trouble coping with the demands of life. 

Key Coverage

With Police in Schools, More Children in Court

Since the early 1990s, thousands of districts, often with federal subsidies, have paid local police agencies to provide armed “school resource officers” for high schools, middle schools and sometimes even elementary schools. Hundreds of additional districts, including those in Houston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, have created police forces of their own, employing thousands of sworn officers.

Key Coverage

Alliance of Big City School Dstricts Aims for More Healthful Meals

School districts in L.A., New York, Chicago, Dallas, Miami and Orlando, Fla., plan to announce Thursday efforts to use their collective clout — 2.5 million daily meals served and $530 million annually spent — to make wholesome food a national standard. The districts are also aiming for more eco-friendly practices — replacing polystyrene and plasticwith biodegradable trays and flatware, for instance.

Key Coverage

To Lock Classroom Doors or Not?

Behind a locked classroom door, a Los Angeles third-grade teacher purportedly committed lewd acts against students. The charges spurred demands for classrooms to remain open during the school day. But after the shooting deaths of 20 first-graders in Connecticut last month, calls were made to keep classrooms locked. The intent of both efforts is to keep students safe. But as school districts nationwide examine their security measures following the Newtown, Conn., massacre, the question of locked versus unlocked classroom doors is in debate.

Should teachers and administrators use their secured doors as a shield from an outside danger?

Key Coverage

Code of Conduct: Safety, Discipline, and School Climate

These issues are at the heart of the 2013 edition of Education Week’s Quality Counts report: Code of Conduct: Safety, Discipline, and School Climate. A collaboration between the Education Week newsroom and the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, Quality Counts 2013 investigates the impact of a school’s social and disciplinary environment on students’ ability to learn and on the teachers and administrators tasked with guiding them.

The report’s journalism takes an in-depth look at a range of school-climate factors—including strong and positive peer interactions, a sense of safety and security, and school disciplinary policies and practices—that help to lay the groundwork for student achievement.

Key Coverage

Since Newtown School Shootings, Sales of Kids’ Bulletproof Backpacks Soar

Until recently, it seemed a foregone conclusion that body armor, like guns and knives, had no place in schools. Five years ago, there was no such thing as a bulletproof backpack, Uy said, and bulletproof vests were merely precautions for kids who hunted with their parents. But reinforced backpacks have become more popular since the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 and the gradual rise of the “prepper” movement, a subculture obsessed with preparations for the end of the world.

Key Coverage

In Southern Towns, ‘Segregation Academies’ Are Still Going Strong

A Hechinger Report analysis of private school demographics (using data compiled on the National Center for Education Statistics website) found that more than 35 such academies survive in Mississippi, many of them in rural Delta communities like Indianola. Each of the schools was founded between 1964 and 1972 in response to anticipated or actual desegregation orders, and all of them enroll fewer than two percent black students.

Key Coverage

When Roll Calls Go High-Tech

John Jay Science and Engineering Academy started making students carry “smart ID” badges implanted with microchips this fall to ensure they are counted as present, since some state funding is tied to student attendance. But Andrea Hernandez, a 15-year old sophomore at the magnet school for exceptional students, filed a federal-court petition on Nov. 30 seeking to be excluded from the program.

Key Coverage

Advent of ‘Smart Drugs’ Raises Safety, Ethical Concerns

Evidence is still limited—but growing—that some chemicals can boost attention, memory, concentration, and other abilities related to academic performance. Researchers at the Society of Neuroscience conference here questioned whether it is safe and fair to allow healthy people to boost their brain function chemically, or use drugs to correct environmental factors like poverty or bad instruction that can lead to brain deficits similar to those that characterize medical conditions like attention-deficit disorders.

Key Coverage

Washington State Makes It Harder to Opt Out of Immunizations

The share of kindergartners whose parents opted out of state immunization requirements more than doubled in the decade that ended in 2008, peaking at 7.6 percent in the 2008-9 school year, according to the state’s Health Department, raising alarm among public health experts. But last year, the Legislature adopted a law that makes it harder for parents to avoid getting their children vaccinated, by requiring them to get a doctor’s signature if they wish to do so. Since then, the opt-out rate has fallen fast, by a quarter, setting an example for other states with easy policies.

Key Coverage

Pancakes for School Lunch? Perfect When It’s 9:45 a.m.

Fuentes’ pre-kindergarten son sits down to lunch in New Orleans at 9:45 a.m. and her first-grade daughter eats at 10:20 a.m. Similarly, at a school in Florida’s Seminole County, lunch starts as early as 9 a.m. and a middle school in Queens, N.Y., recently announced it will be serving students lunch at 9:45 a.m. On this month’s early morning menu: mozzarella sticks, penne pasta and roasted chicken.

Key Coverage

New Attendance Push Prized by Students, Educators

The attendance push has been particularly strong in California, New York, Texas and other states where schools funding is based on how many children are in their seats each day, rather than enrollment. Several California districts have made a back-to-school ritual of reminding parents that schools lose money whenever kids are out.

Some have asked families with children who missed school for avoidable reasons such as family trips to reimburse schools the $30-$50 a day the absence cost in lost funding, or at least consider having a child with the sniffles or a stomach ache show up for the first part of the day so he or she can be counted before going home sick.

Key Coverage

L.A. Schools Moving Away From Zero Tolerance Policies

But a new partnership among Los Angeles city, police and school officials aims to support — rather than punish — students like Garcia before it’s too late. In a decisive step away from the zero tolerance policies of the 1990s, Los Angeles school police have agreed to stop issuing citations to truant students and instead refer them to city youth centers for educational counseling and other services to help address their academic struggles.

Key Coverage

New Attendance Push Prized by Students, Educators

The attendance push has been particularly strong in California, New York, Texas and other states where schools funding is based on how many children are in their seats each day, rather than enrollment. Several California districts have made a back-to-school ritual of reminding parents that schools lose money whenever kids are out.

Key Coverage

How Kids Make Friends — And Why It Matters

To make friends, it turns out, children need to be able to carry out sophisticated social maneuvers, screening potential pals for certain positive qualities and making careful assessments about how much common ground they share. And in order to be a good friend—the kind that inspires loyalty and dedication—even a very young child must be not only fun to spend time with, but capable of being emotionally mature in ways that can be difficult even for grown-ups.

Key Coverage

Biggest Back-to-School Purchase: A New Home?

“A new analysis of Census data by the real-estate services company Trulia Inc. shows that the quality of schools remains a crucial factor in where parents choose to buy homes. Of course, schools have always been closely tied to real-estate sales, but Trulia’s findings indicate that despite the collapse of the housing market, education is sometimes even more important than factors such as price, commute time and nearby amenities.”

Key Coverage

California Defunds Program to Fix ‘Slum’ Schools

Eight years after California settled a landmark lawsuit promising hundreds of millions of dollars to repair shoddy school facilities, more than 700 schools still are waiting for their share of funds as students take classes on dilapidated campuses with health and safety hazards. California has funded less than half of the $800 million required by the Emergency Repair Program, which grew out of a class-action lawsuit against the state that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed to settle.

Key Coverage

The Story of a Suicide

After Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge, anti-bullying advocates and others were quick to attribute his death to cyberbullying from his roommate Dharun Ravi, who used a webcam to spy on Clementi with a guest in their room. This exhaustively reported article shows that—in this case and others—the blame perhaps is not so easy to place.

Key Coverage

One Town’s War on Gay Teens

This article offers an unflinching look at how brutal bullying can be for LGBT students, focusing in particular in a “suicide cluster” in the Anoka-Hennepin school district in Minnesota. As the debate in the story’s comments sections makes clear, allegations of bullying within mid-sized or smaller towns can be controversial and hard to resolve.

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Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies

This report examines what sorts of policies states use to address bullying. It found that “from 1999 to 2010, more than 120 bills were enacted by state legislatures nationally that have either introduced or amended education or criminal justice statutes to address bullying and related behaviors in schools.

Key Coverage

Assault on Learning

The Philadelphia Inquirer education team won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of violence in the city’s schools. Their interactive site offers school-by-school databases for incidents of violence in addition to stories that includes an analysis of how even kindergarteners can be the perpetrators and victims of severe campus violence. The articles also are available as printable PDFs. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Key Coverage

Remarks by the President and First Lady at the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention

During a conference to examine ways that schools and communities could work to prevent bullying, both the president and first lady offered personal remarks. “No child should feel that alone,” President Obama said. “We’ve got to make sure our young people know that if they’re in trouble, there are caring adults who can help and young adults that can help; that even if they’re having a tough time, they’re going to get through it, and there’s a whole world full of possibility waiting for them.

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Indicators of School Crime and Safety

This report is a comprehensive and wide-ranging compendium of statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. Its “Key Findings” section is a go-to source for quick summaries of the numbers of different types of crimes reported during the school year.

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U.S. Department of Education “Dear Colleague” Letter

This letter from Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali was issued to advise school administrators on how bullying could be addressed under existing federal laws. The letter notes that “by limiting its response to a specific application of its anti‐bullying disciplinary policy, a school may fail to properly consider whether the student misconduct also results in discriminatory harassment.

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The Myths About Bullying: Secretary Arne Duncan’s Remarks at the Bullying Prevention Summit

In the summer of 2010, several U.S. Cabinet departments held a summit to discuss ways they could collaborate to help the federal government to stem what was seen as a rising tide of bullying in the nation’s schools. Education Secretary Duncan spoke with the group, stating “bullying is doubly dangerous because if left unattended it can rapidly escalate into even more serious violence and abuse. Just as you have gateway drugs, bullying is gateway behavior.

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The 2009 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Youth in Our Schools

This report offers detailed statistics on the types of harassment and abuse that LGBT students reported experiencing in school. “Schools nationwide are hostile environments for a distressing number of LGBT students — almost all of whom commonly hear homophobic remarks and face verbal and physical harassment and even physical assault because of their sexual orientation or gender expression,” notes the report as a key finding.

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A National Analysis of School Racial Segregation, Student Achievement

This report considers the educational consequences of the considerable racial segregation that remains in schools today and the potential of controlled choice to address them. It begins with an extensive review of research regarding the effects of school integration. Previous research provides relatively strong evidence that desegregation helps minority students reach higher academic achievement and better long-term outcomes such as college attendance and employment.