Physical Safety

Friendy cop being welcomed to school assembly by elementary teacher

Physical safety refers to the protection of all stakeholders, including families, caregivers, students, school staff, and the community, from violence, theft, and exposure to weapons and threats, in order to establish a secure learning environment.

For students to learn, they need to feel safe.  It is essential that all students have the opportunity to attend schools that provide a safe environment where they can thrive and fully engage in their studies without the distraction and worry about physical safety concerns.

Physical safety is essential for a safe and supportive learning environment in which students and staff can thrive.

Physical safety is related to higher academic performance, fewer risky behaviors, and lower dropout rates.

Risky behaviors, such as acts of violence, imperil safety for students and staff, and undermine the teaching and learning climate.

Students who feel safe are more likely to stay in school and achieve academically.

Physical safety is important for students’ feelings of connection to school and their educational experience.

Students who are not fearful or worried about their safety feel more connected to their school and care more about their educational experience.

References

Boccanfuso, B., & Kuhfeld, M. (2011). Multiple responses, promising results: Evidence-based, nonpunitive alternatives to zero tolerance. Washington, DC: Child Trends.

Davis, J. E., & Jordan, W. T. (1994). The effects of school context, structure, and experiences on African American males in middle and high school. Journal of Negro Education, 63, 570-587.

Furlong, M. J., Whipple, A. D., St. Jean, G., Simental, J., Soliz, A., & Punthuna, S. (2003). Multiple contexts of school engagement: Moving toward a unifying framework for educational research and practice. The California School Psychologist, 8, 99-114.

DeVoe, J., & Murphy, C. (2011). Student Reports of Bullying and Cyber-Bullying: Results From the 2009 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey (No. NCES 2011-336). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

Fekkes, M., Pijpers, F. I. M., & Verloove-Vanhorick, S. P. (2006). Effects of Antibullying School Program on Bullying and Health Complaints. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 160(638-644).

Glew, G. M., Fan, M.-Y., Katon, W., Rivara, F. P., & Kernic, M. A. (2005). Bullying, Psychosocial Adjustment, and Academic Performance in Elementary School. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 159, 1026-1031.

Gottfredson, G., & Gottfredson, D. (2001). What schools do to prevent problem behavior and promote safe environments. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 12(4), 313-344.

Harper, K. (2010). Measuring School Climate. Paper presented at the Safe and Supportive Schools Grantee Meeting, Washington, DC.

Mayer, G. R. (2001). Antisocial behavior: Its causes and prevention within our schools. Education and Treatment of Children, 24, 414-429.

Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285(16), 2094-2100.

Neild, R. C., Furstenberg Jr., F. F., & Stoner-Eby, S. (2002). Connecting Entrance and Departure: The Transition to Ninth Grade and High School Dropout. Unpublished.

Osher, D., & Kendziora, K. (2010). Building Conditions for Learning and Healthy Adolescent Development: Strategic Approaches. In B. Doll, W. Pfohl & J. Yoon (Eds.), Handbook of Youth Prevention Science. New York: Routledge

Osher, D., Sprague, J., Weissberg, R. P., Axelrod, J., Keenan, S., Kendziora, K., et al. (2008). A comprehensive approach to promoting social, emotional, and academic growth in contemporary schools. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology V (Vol. 4, pp. 1263–1278). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Osher, D., Dwyer, K., & Jimerson, S. R. (2006). Safe, supportive, and effective schools. In S. R. Jimerson & M. J. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of school violence and school safety: From research to practice (pp. 51-72). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Ripski, M. B., & Gregory, A. (Oct-Dec2009). Unfair, Unsafe, and Unwelcome: Do High School Students’ Perceptions of Unfairness, Hostility, and Victimization in School Predict Engagement and Achievement? . Journal of School Violence, 8(4), 355-375.

Scales, P. C., & Roehlkepartain, E. C. (2004). Service to others: A gateway asset for school success and healthy development. In National Youth Leadership Council, Growing to greatness: The State of Service-Learning Project (pp. 26-32). St. Paul, MN: National Youth Leadership Council.

Skiba, R., & Rausch, M. K. (2004). The Relationship between Achievement, Discipline, and Race: An Analysis of Factors Predicting ISTEP Scores. Bloomington, IN: Center for Evaluation and Education Policy.

Steinberg, M. P., Allensworth, E., & Johnson, D. W. (2011). Student and Teacher Safety in Chicago Public Schools: The Roles of Community Context and School Social Organization. Chicago: Consortium on Chicago School Research.

 

Featured Resources

Shared in this resource are the causes of youth violence and what can be done to prevent it. In addition, details ways communities can use this guide effectively.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Division of Violence Prevention
Addressing the Risk of Violent Behavior in Youth: Know the Signs of Youth Violence and How to Identify and Reduce Risk in Schools Presentation Slide

Presents a PowerPoint with materials school leaders can use to inform, and help classroom teachers, counselors and other staff understand the basic facts about youth violence.

DHHS
Cover of report

Shares what the Federal Commission on School Safety found in research and recommends to advance safety in schools via prevention, protection and mitigation, and response and recovery. It touches on promoting mental health, addressing related discipline issues, and violence in schools.

Federal Commission on School Safety

Provides a listing of programming available to institutions of higher education to teaching incoming students about prevention. This free tool from Culture of Respect is a curated list of theory-driven and evidence-based sexual violence prevention programs available in the field. The matrix includes the program name, level of evidence, format, target audience, and special features. Culture of Respect does not endorse or support any one program; rather, it is a clearinghouse to help institutions identify those programs that best meet their needs. To learn more, visit each organization’s

Screenshot of the human trafficking 101 guide.

Helps school professionals better understand the issue of human trafficking and who is at risk for victimization. Included are a list of “red flags” that administrators and staff reference when identifying potential victims and hotlines to call to make a report.  

Blue Campaign
Report cover - holding hands - Get Smart.Get Help. Get Safe

Provides research-based, user friendly materials trainers can use for in-person training events on assessing, preventing and intervening Teenage Dating Abuse.

NCSSLE
Screen shot of training video

Presents a set of interactive resources designed to help customize youth violence prevention work and track efforts. While these resources were developed with public health practitioners in mind, any group working to prevent youth violence can and should use them. 

CDC

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