This white paper provides an overview of the literature on school safety in the United States, with a focus on equity.
This publication provides an overview of the literature on school safety in the United States, with a focus on equity. Using the framework developed by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), this publication situates a comprehensive school safety approach as a balance of three key elements: physical safety, school climate, and student behavior, with an emphasis on equity and the inclusion of knowledge gained from projects funded by the NIJ Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. The recent effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the national outcry to address systemic racism have highlighted the continuing inequities that make schools unsafe for marginalized students. Systems must consider the experiences of these students and be intentional about implementing policies that balance the elements of a comprehensive school safety framework while also explicitly considering equity. For the purposes of this discussion, equity in school safety is defined as a system that not only considers but respects the varied and intersectional individual identities that students possess to ensure that they do not hinder their ability to feel safe at school and receive a fair education. The scope of this discussion will focus on the need for equity specifically relating to racial and ethnic identities.