Creating Safer Schools
1. How big a problem is crime in schools?
In 2000, students ages 12 through 18 were victims of about 1.9 million crimes at school, including about 128,000 serious violent crimes (including rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault). That same year, about 29 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that someone had offered, sold or given them an illegal drug on school property. While overall school crime rates have declined over the last few years, violence, gangs and drugs are still present, indicating that more work needs to be done.TOP
2. How can parents find out about safety at their child's school?
Under Title IV of ESEA as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act, states are required to establish a uniform management and reporting system to collect information on school safety and drug use among young people. The states must include incident reports by school officials and anonymous student and teacher surveys in the data they collect. This information is to be publicly reported so that parents, school officials and others who are interested have information about any violence and drug use at their schools. They can then assess the problems at their schools and work toward finding solutions. Continual monitoring and reports will track progress over time.TOP
3. How can schools be made safer?
Title IV provides support for programs to prevent violence in and around schools; prevent the illegal use of alcohol, drug and tobacco by young people; and foster a safe and drug-free learning environment that supports academic achievement. Most of the funds are awarded to states, which, in turn, award money to the districts for a wide range of drug- and violence-prevention programs. These programs must address local needs as determined by objective data and be grounded in scientifically based prevention activities. They must also involve parents. The effectiveness of these programs must be continuously measured and evaluated.TOP
4. What can be done immediately for students who are in unsafe schools?
Parents of children who have been the victims of a violent crime at school or who attend "persistently dangerous schools"as determined by the statewill be offered school choice, as described in the section on Choice and Supplemental Educational Services.TOP