Improving Safety in Schools and Communities
Although young people are safe in school compared to their time spent outside of school, there are still significant concerns about the safety of students—and staff—in our nation’s educational institutions. At the most severe end of the continuum, tragic events like the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde evoke fear about school shootings and gun violence. But on the other end of the continuum, everyday interpersonal harassment and bullying is still too common among children of all ages.
Discover how our team can help support your local and state leaders working in areas related to school safety.
Dr. Joseph McKenna directs school safety for WestEd’s Justice & Prevention Research Center (JPRC). Dr. McKenna, along with Senior Research Associate Dr. Ashley Boal, leads the National Evaluation of Statewide School Safety Centers, which is funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and is the first systematic study of government-supported school safety entities.
Dr. Shawna White is a senior lead in school safety for WestEd’s Justice & Prevention Research Center (JPRC). She works with local and state education agencies to implement evidence-based programs. For example, she is helping to lead WestEd’s work funded under the federal Stop Violence Act, including developing tools and resources to facilitate implementation of school-based violence prevention programs, supporting data collection efforts to track fidelity, and providing feedback to administrators to enact change.
Our Work in Action
Understanding the Impact of SSSCs: An Empirical Study
State School Safety Centers (SSSCs) aim to provide a wide range of services to enhance school security. More information, however, is needed to understand how the centers should operate and what factors determine their success.
In 2021, the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center received funding from the U.S. National Institute of Justice to conduct one of the first empirical studies of SSSCs. Our team developed an online survey that asked key informants in each state to assess the history, characteristics, and activities of SSSCs.