While education and safety experts and parent-teacher organizations long have promoted parental involvement as key to maintaining safe school environments, a study of children 10 to 14 years old by researchers at the University of Illinois suggests that parents’ presence has little impact on whether young people perceive their schools as safe.
So, then what does help students feel safer at school? Frequent parent-child discussions at home about academics, school activities and other concerns along with teacher involvement, rule enforcement and being able to make friends easily at school, said the researchers, Jun Sung Hong, a doctoral student, and Mary Keegan Eamon, a faculty member, both in the School of Social Work at Illinois. Their study appeared recently in the Journal of Child and Family Studies.
Using a nationally representative data set of more than 1,200 young people, Hong and Eamon examined the relationship of children’s perceptions of school safety with various socio-demographic characteristics of the children, their families and their home and school environments.
While the majority of students in the study had no concerns about school safety, close to a third of the young people perceived their schools as unsafe to some degree.
Not surprisingly, children living in poverty, in neighborhoods with higher crime rates and who attended inner city schools were more likely to perceive their school environments as dangerous.
“Students who feel that their neighborhood is safe are less likely to feel unsafe in school,” Hong said. “This is very important because there haven’t been a lot of studies on school violence or bullying that looked at neighborhood safety.”
However, the children’s perceptions of being unsafe in school significantly decreased relative to how frequently they discussed their studies, school activities and other concerns with their parents, although direct parent involvement in the school had little impact.
Perhaps children who had better communication with their parents were “more willing to discuss what’s going on in school and felt their parents might do something to try to protect them or make things better for them,” Eamon said. “Keeping that communication open with children about what’s going on in schools seems to be very important.“It really surprised us that none of the other parent variables – school involvement, attending school meetings/events, volunteering at the school or speaking with the teachers – was significantly related to kids’ perceptions of safety,” Eamon said. “You’d think that the more parents were involved in the school system, the more likely it would be that kids would perceive it as safer, just because the parents might see that there are problems and be more involved in fixing them, but we didn’t find anything” that corroborated that.
Parental involvement in schools might have more impact on younger children’s perceptions of safety than on early adolescents, who tend to rely less on their parents and more on their peers, Hong said.
Children in the study who had seen a peer carrying a weapon at school were 70 percent more likely to perceive their schools as unsafe, as were male students and older students.
While rule enforcement increased perceptions of safety among study participants, other studies have indicated that stringent security and punitive measures such as installing metal detectors and implementing “zero tolerance” anti-violence policies can backfire, exacerbating behavioral problems among at-risk youth, heightening students’ fear of being victimized and potentially marginalizing or unfairly penalizing minority students.
The researchers suggested a variety of interventions at the family, school and neighborhood levels, including schools’ adopting anti-violence policies in combination with “whole school” interventions that target all students rather than individuals or groups of students. Social workers might also advocate for community programs that reduce violence in neighborhoods and protect children as they walk to and from school.
Hong and Eamon also recommended that school officials, community leaders and gun-control organizations work together to reduce weapon carrying and weapon-related school violence, and pointed to the Baton Rouge Partnership for Prevention of Juvenile Gun Violence as a possible example. Implemented in Baton Rouge, La., in late 1997, the initiative involves multiple police and community agencies in comprehensive intervention, treatment and prevention strategies for young people on probation for gun-related offenses, and it provides services for their family members.
During its first three years, the partnership significantly reduced the number of school expulsions, re-arrests and fear of violence among youth in the program along with firearms-related crimes in the targeted area.
Editor’s note: To contact Jun Sung Hong, email firstname.lastname@example.org; call 217-333-2261. Mary Keegan Eamon: email@example.com; 217-244-5238.
Sharita Forrest | University of Illinois
Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
21.08.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
21.08.2018 | Life Sciences
21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering