Survey Reveals Gap Between Parents, Administrators in Perceived School Safety

A survey from Safe and Sound Schools and Raptor Technologies has revealed a gap between parents and administrators in perceptions of school safety. The results of the survey, which was conducted among district administrators, public safety staff, students, teachers, and parents, suggest that administrators are significantly more confident than parents in schools’ safety policies and procedures.

The 2021 State of School Safety Report addressed issues like schools taking a proactive approach to safety awareness, how schools would respond to a campus emergency, and preparedness to unite children with their guardians after a crisis. It also covered schools’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mental health of students returning to school, and general preparedness on the part of schools to confront emergency situations.

Some of the survey’s findings include:

  • 86 percent of administrators (compared to 51 percent of parents and 44 percent of students) said they feel prepared for an active shooter event in the district.
  • 87 percent of administrators and 85 percent of security personnel (compared to 45 percent of parents and 44 percent of students) said they have the correct resources in place to handle mental health emergencies.
  • 98 percent of administrators (compared to 74 percent of parents) agree that schools handled the COVID-19 crisis well.
  • 89 percent of district safety employees (compared to just 45 percent of parents) say that schools have an adequate plan for reuniting students and guardians after an emergency.
  • 92 percent of administrators (67 percent of parents) said that their district’s safety measures are adequate.
  • 91 percent of district safety employees (70 percent of parents) say that they have a separate safety plan for special needs children.

“In all the years of doing this report, this is the largest disparity between respondent groups that we have seen,” said Michele Gay, founder and Executive Director of Safe and Sound Schools. “The report highlights there is a real disconnect, or perhaps a lack of communication, between districts and families, which the pandemic may have exacerbated.”

The survey was conducted from a nationwide sample of 615 parents of school-aged children; 599 middle- and high-school students; 512 school stakeholders including teachers, staff, administrators, and school-based health professionals; and 374 public safety officials. The sampling has an error range of +/- 4–5 percent.

“This report makes it clear that districts need to improve communication within their communities on how they plan to deal with emergencies and mental health challenges in the coming school year,” said Gray Hall, CEO of Raptor Technologies. “There is an opportunity to help parents and students better understand the measures school districts are actively taking to tackle these problems through policies, procedures, and technologies that keep kids safe.”