Research and Evaluation on School Safety: The Structure, Services, and Products of State School Safety Centers
Common vehicles used to maintain an organized and consolidated effort at the state level to address school safety are State School Safety Centers (SSSCs)—providing a wide range of services to enhance school security.
This report, developed by WestEd’s Justice and Prevention Research Center (JPRC) and funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), is the second in a series that highlights findings from an evaluation of SSSCs. Given the lack of information about the structure and functionality of SSSCs across the country, the report provides insights from in-depth interviews with SSSC directors to examine the school safety landscape in their states, the history and structure of the centers, the services offered by the centers, and the centers’ accomplishments and challenges.
Key findings include the following:
- Most state legislation guiding SSSCs is focused on emergency management.
- SSSCs utilize various staffing models and staff with expertise aligned with state legislation requirements.
- SSSCs likely need diverse funding sources to conduct their work.
- Most SSSCs provide many services remotely.
- State legislation and SSSC operations play a role in shaping services.
“Whole perspective. How do we prepare for, respond to, and recover from threats and hazards? But at the core of it is ‘the whole child’ and meeting all their needs. If the student doesn’t feel safe and secure in their environment, then they aren’t going to learn. So that is where it starts.”
— SSSC director, p. 14
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