State of School Safety Report Reveals Students Want More Social and Emotional Support and Increased Safety

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, July 25, 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.

The Safe and Sound Schools “2022 State of School Safety Report” consisted of a national sample of 816 parents of school-aged children and 881 middle and high school students (including diversity of age, geography, race, and gender), 837 school stakeholders (including teachers, administrators, staff, and school-based wellness and behavioral health professionals), and 418 public safety officials and leaders with a sampling error range of +/-4 to 5 percentage points. The Boston University College of Communication compiled the interviews and data.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Michele Gay and Alissa Parker founded Safe and Sound Schools in 2013, following the tragic deaths of their children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Safe and Sound Schools works with school communities and mental health, law enforcement, and safety professionals to create and ensure the safest possible learning environment for all youth. The non-profit organization delivers crisis-prevention, response, and recovery programs, tools, and resources backed by national experts to educate all school community members, from students and parents to teachers and administrators, to law enforcement and local leaders. Winner of the 2015 New England Business Association Innovation Award for non-profits, Safe and Sound Schools continues to answer the growing needs of school communities with custom programs, assessments, and training, reaching schools in every state in the country. For more information, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

About Lightspeed Systems®

With over 20 years of providing technology to meet the needs of schools, Lightspeed Systems® is the market leader in online student safety and effectiveness. The purpose-built Lightspeed ecosystem of cloud-based solutions—tailored to meet today’s evolving challenges—provides schools worldwide with the most effective web filter, student safety monitor, classroom management software, device management tool, and analytics program available. Lightspeed Systems is a proven partner for schools, serving over 20 million students in 39 countries and 28,000 schools globally. To learn more, visit www.lightspeedsystems.com.

About Raptor Technologies

Founded in 2002, Raptor has partnered with over 50,000 schools globally, including over 5,000 K-12 US school districts, to provide integrated visitor, volunteer, emergency management, safeguarding, and early intervention software and services that cover the full spectrum of school and student safety. To learn more about Raptor Technologies, visit www.raptortech.com.

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