Study reveals potential gaps in school safety

According to the results of the 2014 Student Safety Survey conducted by Awareity, provider of the TIPS risk management and prevention platform, there is an alarming disconnect between the threats students say they are aware of in schools and what administrators and security personnel are doing to actually address potential problems. The survey, which collected responses from nearly 6,500 K-12 students in 14 states as well as Canada, found that 34 percent students are aware of someone who may pose a risk to other students or the school itself.

“That’s a big number – 6,500 kids – and nearly a third basically know someone who poses a risk to their school and with all of the headlines, stories and tragedies we’ve seen and of the discussions about how to prevent them, we’ve got 34 percent of kids here who might be sitting on information that would certainly be helpful to preventing something from happening,” said Awareity Founder and CEO Rick Shaw.

Additionally, 18 percent reported being aware of a student who has brought a weapon into school and 16 percent said that they had missed school at least once because they felt unsafe, uncomfortable or nervous either at or on their way to and from school. However, when bullying concerns were reported, students said that only 17 percent of the time did the situation get any better.

Overall, 79 percent of students polled in the survey said that that they have been impacted by bullying. Another 23 percent of students said that they are bullied at least once a week and 49 percent reported witnessing bullying of other students at least once a week. Social media is also contributing to the problem as 46 percent of students in the report said that they have been impacted by cyberbullying.

“Most school administrators, when we ask them if (social media) is a problem, most of them say absolutely. It’s a big problem because 1) they can’t see it and 2) most adults are not that familiar with how to investigate it,” said Shaw. “Also with social media, the evidence disappears, whether it is deleted or it is there for a short amount of time. By the time they try and go do an investigation, they can’t find any evidence of what was happening.”

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