Study Suggests Students Feel Less Safe With More School Security Measures

The research report concludes that common misbehaviors are being criminalized because of the presence of police officers at schools.

A study examining security measures at American high schools paints a negative picture on the effectiveness of the security in making students safer.

The research was conducted by Canisius College Associate Professor of Psychology Timothy J. Servoss, PhD. Here is an excerpt from the study:

Further findings show that the more security in a school, the less safe students feel. Additionally, increased security does not decrease student misbehavior, crime, victimization or bullying. It does, however, lead to higher suspension rates in schools that utilize resource officers. Heightened security also triples the likelihood of students being arrested in schools that employ police officers. And the number of African American students arrested is disproportionately higher than their Caucasian counterparts.

“It’s not the case that the school with the police officer is arresting more kids because the misbehaviors are higher than at other schools,” says Servoss. “It’s really a convenience factor but the result is that common misbehaviors become criminalized.”

The report lists the following examples of misbehaviors being criminalized: Students engaging in fights are charged with assault and battery; a disruptive student charged with disturbing the peace; a dress code violation with indecent exposure.

Servoss’ report also examined what factors determine which schools adopt more security. He found three — region, school size and race. Security levels are much higher for schools with higher populations of African American students.

More: Integrator Helps Optimize Security System at New York City’s School of Visual Arts

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