School safety and security is top-of- mind in light of recent school shootings. Beyond visible uniformed guards, metal detectors and searches, research indicates that taking measures to increase a supportive, connected school culture may be more important than increased security in helping children feel safe at school.
In fact, studies show visible signs like the guards and detectors can increase stress levels and actually make children feel less safe in their environment, according to information released by Education Week.
What measures reduce bullying and make students feel safer? Experts say one of the best methods is an academically challenging yet supportive environment, with adults who have strong relationships with students and are visible in hallways.
News reports indicate that the shooter at Taft Union High may have been targeting bullies and that the shooting occurred minutes after administrators announced a new lockdown on safety procedures in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Experts encourage school administrators to implement holistic strategies and tools that focus on improving overall school climate and teacher/student relationships in order to build a school culture that emphasizes security and self-control.
This approach, rather than trying to police a culture dominated by cruelty and stress, might be the best prevention against school violence.