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Special Report Safe Schools: A Technology Primer

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2003
10 pages
This article describes how the Federal Government, under the leadership of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), is working with local authorities to implement various technologies for making schools safer.
NIJ's School Safety Program applies a three-pronged approach to school safety, using needs assessment and partnership development; technology research, development, and evaluation; and technology assistance. An example of how the program works is a team effort by the New York City Police Department, the city's school district, and NIJ and its National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC)-Northeast in identifying equipment to detect razor blades and other small cutting instruments. In another case, similar cooperation between NIJ and its NLECTC-Southeast and the police in Normal, IL, resulted in the development of the School-Based Virtual Private Network, which is a secure, limited-access e-mail network that allows authorized users, such as local schools, law enforcement, and other agencies that serve youths to share information. Another trend that has advanced school security is the use of school resource officers (SROs), who are assigned full-time to work in a school. This work is aided by the National Association of School Resource Officers, which trains SROs nationwide. Other school security innovations mentioned in this article are a closed-circuit video surveillance system used in 85 public schools in Washington DC; a software program ("School COP") that uses geographic information system technology to map and analyze incidents in or near schools; the use of door-access technology to prevent unauthorized persons from getting inside schools; the use of random urine drug testing for students in middle and high schools; and the development and testing of sprays that can detect trace amounts of certain drugs. 50 annotated resources

Date Published: January 1, 2003