Can Technology Make Schools Safer?
Aug 22, 2016
The report categorizes school safety technologies, noting the lack of research about school safety technology and summarizing the existing research on school violence; presents six case studies of innovative technologies used in schools; and summarizes experts' views of technologies and safety problems, determined through interviews; and presents experts' rankings of technology needs to improve school safety, produced during two day-long panels.
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Violence in schools negatively affects children's future life outcomes and the culture and performance of the school. For these reasons, promoting school safety is a national priority for many federal agencies, including the National Institute of Justice. This report focuses on school safety technologies as one among many approaches to prevent and respond to school violence. In the report, the authors summarize existing research on school violence, categorize school safety technologies and describe the available research about them, present six case studies of innovative technologies as used in schools, summarize experts' views of technologies and safety problems based on interviews, and present experts' rankings of technology needs to improve school safety produced during two day-long panels. These activities revealed that some of the most pressing safety needs that technology could address relate to (1) enabling two-way communication between teachers and emergency responders; (2) "all-in-one" applications that would integrate currently fragmented and outdated school safety policies, procedures, and training for school staff and parents; (3) advances in social media monitoring; and (4) improved tip lines to make them more robust and effective. Results should be of interest to organizations and individuals involved with K–12 school technology planning, research funding, and product development.
The authors identify several areas with the potential for improving safety in U.S. schools. These include investments in communication strategies, comprehensive school safety plans, improved tip lines, and improved upkeep of technology. Schools need better information on what works; technology developers should test their technology solutions in real-world settings; and schools should develop an all-hazards safety plan, examine the underlying psychological and social problems that lead to school violence, make sure that the technology being considered will integrate with the school's current system, and identify the school's needs, budget, and community values before selecting a technology.
School Safety Technology: Technology Typologies, Prevalence of Use, and Evidence of Effectiveness
Perceived Appropriateness and Barriers to Adoption of School Safety Technology
Using Innovative Technology to Enhance School Safety in Practice
Prioritizing Technology and Related Needs to Improve School Safety
Conclusion: Future Directions for Investments in School Safety Technology
An Overview of Violence in U.S. K–12 Schools Today
Complete Listing and Tiering of Combined Technology and Related Needs
The research reported here was conducted in the Justice Policy Program within the RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment.
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