New York State School Boards Association

One year after Newtown, most superintendents believe their schools are safer

Security presence cited as single most effective school safety intervention


FOR RELEASE:   December 10, 2013

CONTACT: Al Marlin
(518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell
On Twitter: @nyschoolboards

One year after the horrific shootings at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, nearly six in 10 superintendents in New York say their schools are safer today than they were a year ago, according to the results of a survey by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).

Fifty-nine percent of superintendents who responded to the survey said they believe their schools are “more safe” than they were a year ago. Another 39.5 percent said their districts were equally as safe as they were one year ago. Just .5 percent said their schools were less safe, while 1 percent were unsure.

“We were all shocked and saddened by the school shootings that occurred at Sandy Hook,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “This survey shows that schools have either stepped up their security measures since Sandy Hook, or they already had measures in place to ensure that students are safe. While no one can guarantee safety, we at least know that schools are doing everything within their means to protect children.”

According to NYSSBA’s survey, the security measure most frequently adopted by school districts within the past year was to improve their emergency response plans. That measure was cited by 78 percent of superintendents. The next most common measure was installing buzz-in systems at school entrances (57 percent), adding security cameras (56 percent), and having a random police presence in schools (56 percent).

SROs: The single most effective security measure

Superintendents were also asked to identify the single most effective security measure in making schools safer. Forty-seven percent said that a security presence in the form of school resource officers, security guards or a stepped-up random police presence would be the most effective – more than any other single measure and twice as much as the next most effective measure (secure entryways, which was identified by 24 percent of superintendents).

However, superintendents cited cost as a major impediment to adopting certain security measures. For instance, while nearly half of respondents identified school security officers as the single most effective intervention, 42 percent said they could not afford to hire them.

“The expense associated with adequately protecting our children and our schools is clearly an obstacle we must overcome,” said Kremer.  “We will work with lawmakers this upcoming session to provide a consistent funding stream that would give schools the resources they need to implement and maintain necessary security measures.”

NYSSBA surveyed school superintendents between November 8 and November 18 and received 200 responses – about 28 percent of the 725 districts and BOCES surveyed.

To read the report:

Full Report (5 pages - 1.13 MB) 

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