School Violence

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All forms of school violence—from playground bullying to school shootings—have an adverse effect on educational environments. RAND studies have evaluated the effectiveness of risk assessment and violence prevention programs, as well as counseling for students who have been traumatized by violence in schools.

  • Report

    What Do Teachers Think About Carrying Guns to School?

    U.S. teachers are divided on whether arming themselves would make schools safer. One in five feels that carrying a gun would make schools safer and would do so if allowed. More than half believe teacher-carry policies would make schools less safe. And teachers' top safety concern is bullying, not guns.

    May 30, 2023

  • Essay

    Preventing Violence in Schools: How to Encourage Students to Report Threats

    One of the most consistent findings in research on school shootings is that someone knew an attack was possible but didn't report it. There are ways schools can encourage students to come forward when they see or hear something concerning: tip lines, training, and a lot more trust.

    Mar 9, 2023

Explore School Violence

  • Group of elementary school students crossing the street to get on a school bus, photo by martinedoucet/Getty Images

    Report

    Developing Practical Responses to Social Media Threats Against K–12 Schools

    Schools and law enforcement must devote significant resources to tracking down the source of threats of violence made on social media. And the resulting disruptions take an emotional toll on students, teachers, and staff. What can schools do to mitigate the impact of these threats?

    Apr 10, 2024

  • A black and white photo of a police officer in an empty building walking down a flight of stairs, photo by DonTavo/Getty Images

    Journal Article

    The Thin Blue Line in Schools: New Evidence on School-Based Policing Across the U.S.

    We find that school resource officers reduce some forms of violence, but do not prevent gun-related incidents. We also find that SROs intensify the use of suspension, expulsion, police referral, and arrest of students.

    Sep 11, 2023

  • News Release

    News Release

    1 in 5 Teachers Feel Carrying Gun to Class Would Make Schools Safer; More Than Half Think Armed Teachers Would Make ...

    U.S. teachers are divided on whether arming themselves would make schools safer, with one in five saying they would be interested in carrying a gun to school.

    May 31, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Violence in Schools, Neurodiversity and National Security, Drug Cartels: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on preventing school violence, dealing with drug cartels, the benefits of a neurodivergent national security workforce, and more.

    Mar 31, 2023

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: March-April 2023

    The cover story describes how K-12 schools can build trust with students to increase threat reporting and strengthen school safety. The Q&A with Ashley Woo explores how restrictions on race- and gender-related topics are affecting teachers.

    Mar 22, 2023

  • Multiracial group of teenagers sitting on school steps looking at the camera, photo by Daniel de la Hoz/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Ways to Help Students Report Threats to Their School

    When students or others don't know how to report a threat or aren't willing to do so, important opportunities to protect students may be missed. Schools receive little guidance about how to implement an effective reporting program or how to build a robust reporting culture. A recent research effort helps to fill this gap, highlighting seven key implications for school safety planning.

    Sep 29, 2022

  • A memorial site outside Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, after a 15-year-old allegedly killed four classmates and injured seven others on November 30, 2021, photo by Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP

    Essay

    How to Prevent, Prepare for, and Respond to Mass Attacks

    A new step-by-step guide can help communities prevent shootings and other mass attacks before they happen, and save lives when they do. It's written for a variety of public- and private-sector audiences—everyone from emergency responders and school officials to security personnel and community leaders.

    Aug 30, 2022

  • A teacher talks with students outside of the school building, photo by nimito/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Supporting Individual Willingness to Report School Safety Concerns

    What can states, districts, and schools do to encourage people—especially students—to report threats of school violence so that preventive action can be taken?

    Aug 25, 2022

  • Painted stones are placed at a memorial outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, July 13, 2022, photo by Kaylee Greenlee Beal/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Toolkit for Avoiding Mass Shootings

    RAND has developed an online educational toolkit to provide practical strategies and guidance on deterring, mitigating, and responding to mass attacks. Research highlights three top ways to mitigate and/or respond to mass attacks right now: through proactive prevention, relentless follow-up, and diligent preparation and training.

    Jul 14, 2022

  • Law enforcement officers stand near the site of a shooting at a gun store in Metairie, Louisiana, February 20, 2021, photo by Catherine Koppel/Reuters

    Tool

    Mass Attacks Defense Toolkit

    RAND researchers created this tool to advance efforts to prevent and reduce intentional, interpersonal firearm violence and public mass attacks in the United States.

    May 31, 2022

  • Tool

    Tool

    Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) for American Indian Youth

    The Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program helps students exposed to traumatic events who are experiencing emotional or behavioral problems. This tool is an adaptation of the CBITS program for American Indian youth.

    Dec 22, 2021

  • School hallway interior, photo by urfinguss/Getty Images

    Report

    Challenges in Implementing Physical Security Measures in K–12 Schools

    Creating safe and secure environments is essential to supporting effective teaching and learning in America's classrooms. What are the most common challenges to physical security planning in schools?

    Jun 3, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    A Systems Approach to Physical Security in K–12 Schools

    Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center researchers present a systems approach to school safety in which physical security elements integrate to provide benefits with minimal negative effects on schools' missions, operations, and climates.

    Jun 3, 2021

  • Security camera in a classroom

    Commentary

    How Can the U.S. Do a Better Job of Keeping Kids Safe at School?

    Many proposals to improve school safety promote the use of technology, such as metal detectors and video cameras. How effective are these devices? The evidence is mixed.

    Mar 26, 2018

  • Students and tourists rest in lawn chairs in Harvard Yard

    Commentary

    Here's How a National Database Could Help Colleges Fight Sexual Assault

    At a moment of heightened awareness around sexual violence, America's colleges and universities have an opportunity to lead by example, through a commitment to full transparency about campus sexual assaults and openness to learning from each other's failures and successes.

    Mar 2, 2018

  • Girl being bullied by classmates in school corridor

    Commentary

    The Ghost of Bullying

    The idea that bullying is experienced by only a few children and adolescents is false. Most cases are verbal, not physical, and victims tend to remain silent. Research has shown that bullying can have negative long-term effects on a person's life.

    May 31, 2017

  • Students in the hall

    Research Brief

    Can Technology Make Schools Safer?

    Concerns about violence have led many schools to seek out safety technologies such as metal detectors, anonymous “tip lines,” and video surveillance systems. How effective are these at helping schools prevent and respond to threats and acts of violence?

    Aug 22, 2016

  • Security camera in a lobby

    Report

    The Role of Technology in Improving School Safety

    School violence can damage both kids' future outcomes and the culture and performance of the school. Safety technologies are one of many approaches to prevent and respond to the problem. What role might they play?

    Apr 14, 2016