After reporting data and trends in threats and responses regarding school safety, this article describes the features and implementation of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (CSSI).
Although data indicate that school crime rates have declined nationwide since the early 1990s and that the student victimization rate declined 70 percent from 1992 to 2013, the perception of the general public is that school shootings are increasing, largely due to media coverage of high-profile school shootings. Educators, however, face daily challenges to student safety, such as bullying, harassment, and misconduct that requires a disciplinary response. NIJ's CSSI emphasizes that there is no one solution to ensuring student safety in school. Projects funded through CSSI have examined various factors that contribute to school safety, including student and school characteristics, community features, and family profiles. CSSI has provided funding for implementation and evaluation of school safety programs, as well as research projects that examine root causes of threats to school safety. Of the $75 million per year for CSSI between fiscal years 2014 and 2017, two-thirds went toward implementing school safety projects, and one- third was spent studying the impact of each program and the causes and consequences of school-related violence. CSSI projects have addressed a wide range of school safety measures, including school resource officer training, assessments of social media threats, bullying prevention, and positive behavioral interventions. Over the next few years, these efforts will deliver knowledge on the effectiveness of various school safety practices.
Date Published: June 1, 2019