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According to survey results, nearly one-third of students reported not feeling safe at school and all groups surveyed reported needing more mental health and social-emotional support.
NEWTOWN, CT, Jul 26, 2022 – A national survey and report released by Safe and Sound Schools with Raptor Technologies and Lightspeed Systems surveyed school leaders, public safety, mental health, teachers, parents, and students identifying gaps in feelings and perceptions about school safety, in particular with students.
In general, most groups feel schools are safe. However, students express the greatest concerns over feeling safe physically and emotionally. This suggests a strong need for schools to focus on identifying early indicators of concern so they can offer support well before a student proceeds down a path of harm to self or others. Re-education on safety procedures and enhanced reporting and managing of low-level indicators may be necessary to build confidence in students’ safety and wellbeing.
“Now more than ever, it is critical that school communities engage all stakeholders––from students to superintendents––in conversation and decision-making to protect our most sacred spaces and precious community members, our schools and our students,” said Michele Gay, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Safe and Sound Schools.
The survey also revealed that all groups perceive a rise in substance abuse, depression, and anxiety among students in this given school year. However, significant perceptual differences were reported among parents who indicated the lowest perceptions of increase in all categories compared to the other groups. The survey shows a disconnect between student and educator perceptions of the handling of bullying and cyberbullying, with students reporting lower confidence.
“Students are telling us: they need more help,” says Brian Thomas, CEO of Lightspeed Systems. “We know bullying and other social challenges commonly predicate violence and self-harm or exacerbate depression and anxiety. Together we must listen to our students, identify the early warning signs, and intervene before students cause harm to themselves or others.”
These differences in responses reveal a need for community-wide conversations, outreach, and education to increase knowledge, engagement, and confidence for all members of the school community.
“This report indicates an opportunity to reinforce the importance of early intervention when it comes to student struggles with mental health, peer-on-peer abuse, and other challenges,” stated Gray Hall, CEO of Raptor Technologies. “Proactive support for students is the only way for schools to make sure they are providing the wraparound services students need to achieve their best outcomes.”
Other findings from the survey include:
- All groups are extremely concerned about mental health crises, bullying/peer-on-peer abuse, substance abuse as well as neglect/abuse at home and even basic needs.
- Only 60% of students felt their school or district was prepared to support students who are being bullied at school or online.
- 79% of students perceived an increase in depression, compared to parents at 60%.
- All groups chose school counselors, school nurses, and SROs as the primary resources to keep students safe, with the support of tools and technology such as visitor management, tip lines, and social media scanning.