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Safety in Public Schools

In: English and Literature

Submitted By fresita1031
Words 1137
Pages 5
Running Head: Safety in Schools

Safety in Schools

Strawberry Rosario

ENG 215

Research and Writing

Professor Allegra

Strayer University

June 13, 2011

Safety in Schools Today, school officials deal with violence, drugs, weapons, gangs, shootings, murders and theft to name a few, the public school system should prioritize security services on campus. Parents want to feel that their children's school is safe and secure. Since violence in schools has increased drastically, police officers, video surveillance, and metal detectors are security tools that should be used and installed in schools to improve a safer environment for students. School Resource Officers (SROs) are often sworn police officers employed by the local Police Department and assigned to patrol public school hallways full time. In larger jurisdictions, these police officers may be employed directly by the school district (Kim, 2010). Since violence is common especially with high school students, these police officers help the students understand that they are in the school to protect them but at the same time to enforce the law and good behavior (Geronimo, 2010). School Resource Officers are responsible for criminal law issues, not school discipline issues. They work to prevent juvenile delinquency through close contact and positive relationships with students. In addition, the SRO’s develop crime prevention programs and conduct security inspections to discourage criminal or delinquent activities. The SRO monitors crime statistics and work with local patrol officers and students together to design crime prevention strategies (Geronimo, 2010). SRO’s are visible within the school community; they also attend and participate in school functions and build working relationships with the school’s staff as well as with student and parent groups (Kim, 2010). Though the school resource officers do not enjoy a good reputation among communities, parents, teachers, and students, they play a crucial role in keeping the educational environment in schools safe and secure (Weiss, 2007). A study done by Professor Matthew Herriot at the Knoxville Sentinel in 2006 stated: schools with SRO's had twice the number of disorderly conduct arrests as did schools outside the city whose personnel were county deputies (Rector, 2008). According to the study SRO’s are a waste of time and money to have in the schools, but as Professor Joe Rector says: “The professor's specialties lie in social work education and health services utilization, and his scholarly focus is on juvenile violence and delinquency. He believes that more study is needed on the long-term consequences of school-based arrests. What I didn't see is how much time he's spent in a public school setting over the years. I recommend that he serve as a teacher or officer for a few weeks before he questions practices of SRO's”. Another tool to help improve safety in schools is video surveillance, which is installed in schools to watch students as they go into class, break, and at the end of the day. In 2004, city council passed a bill to install surveillance cameras and metal detectors in every public school in New York by 2006 and allocated $120 million (Weiss, 2007). Video surveillance system helps prevent vandalism, gang activity, fights and theft in the school. Also, it helps students to focus on their studies and not worry about violence within the school. In a recent nationwide telephone survey of public schools, 47 percent of the respondents indicated that CCTV video surveillance is being used in some capacity in a school as a crime prevention measure. According to the survey, most schools use the CCTV video surveillance monitor entranceways and parking lots, hallways, stairways, and cafeterias (see Chart 2). [pic] Source: Security Magazine, 1996. Video surveillance has been criticized by communities and parents because it is a violation of privacy. As Lynn Bryant, who is contributor to says in one of his article: “Parents, teachers, staff, and students all need to be notified of the fact that video surveillance cameras are being utilized. Clearly posting signs both in and around the school premises indicating that video surveillance cameras are in use is one way to get the word out to avoid problems about violation of privacy”. Tuesday, April 20th, 1999 was a tragic day in Columbine High School, where two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, took their own life after injuring 21 students, killing twelve students and a professor.

The Columbine High School massacre could have been avoided if the school had metal detectors installed. Furthermore, the most detailed study of school shootings was done by the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education, where researchers studied 37 attacks, and interviewed 10 of the perpetrators, for their 2002 report (Dedman, 2006). Metal detectors are vital in schools because they prevent violence and killings. According to Bill Dedman, private investigator, Columbine High School did not have metal detectors installed. This system has helped the police to confiscate weapons, which in some cases have been possessed without proper license or have been stolen from others' belongings (Charlie 2006). In conclusion, safety should be priority in public schools. SRO’s on campus are trained professionals who enforce rules of law, they also educate and council students and teachers, and monitor premise security and installed technologies. These officers require significant financial investment, and more importantly, the support of school officials. Utilizing video surveillance and metal detectors effectively means strategically placing them in areas of concern and having attentive staff monitoring and operating these devices to their fullest capacity. “No matter where you are, parents want their students to be safe and secure… that might even precede a quality education…" With drugs, gangs, and guns on the rise in many communities the threat of violence "weighs heavily on most principals' minds these days…Anyone who thinks they are not vulnerable is really naïve."


Bryant, L. (2008). Protecting student privacy rights when using video surveillance in schools.

Education Digest. 75(5), 28. Retrieved May 30, 2011 from EBSCOhost database

Doi # 0015478X

Charlie, S. (2006). Metal detectors in schools. (Web Log Post) Retrieved April 26, 2011 from

Demand, B. (2006). Does every school need a metal detector? (Web Log Post) Retrieved May

30, 2011 from

Geronimo, C. (2010). Policing in schools. Education Digest. 75(5), 25. Retrieved April 26, 2011

from EBSCOhost database doi # 0013127X

Kim, C. (2010). Policing in schools. Education Digest. 75(5), 28. Retrieved April 26, 2011 from

EBSCOhost database doi # 0013127X

Nieto, M. (1997). Public Video Surveillance: Is it an effective crime prevention tool? (Web

Report). Retrieved May 16, 2011 from

Rector, J. (2008). School Safety: The role of school resource officers. (Web Log Post) Retrieved

May 30, 2011 from

Weiss, J. (2007). Eyes on me regardless. Educational Foundations. 21(1), 47.

Retrieved April 26, 2011 from EBSCOhost database doi # 35949986…...

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