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Surveillance or Safekeeping? How School Security Officer and Camera Presence Influence Students’ Perceptions of Safety, Equity, and Support

  • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and The University of Pennsylvania

Abstract and Figures

Purpose: Target hardening, or increasing the use of security measures, is a frequently used response to perceived safety concerns in schools. Studies are mixed as to their effectiveness on students' perceptions of safety and little is known about their influence on other aspects of school climate, particularly for minority students. This study will examine the association between observed security measures in secondary schools and students' perceptions of safety, equity, and support. Methods: School climate surveys were completed by 54,350 students from 98 middle and high schools across the state of Maryland beginning in Spring 2014. Concurrent observations of the school physical environment, including security measures (i.e., officers and cameras), were conducted by trained outside assessors. Multilevel regression analyses examined the association between school security officers and cameras and students' perceptions of safety, equity, and support, while controlling for school and neighborhood characteristics. Cross-level interactions explored differential effects of security measures for Black students. Results: Greater use of security cameras inside the school was related to lower perceptions of safety, equity, and support. A moderate level of security camera use outside the school was related to higher student perceptions of support. Security officer presence was associated with higher perceptions of safety. For black students, cameras were associated with elevated perceptions of safety and support relative to white students. Conclusions: Our findings may suggest that outside cameras and security may be perceived by students as safekeeping, whereas inside cameras may evoke feelings of being viewed as potential perpetrators who need surveillance.
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Original article
Surveillance or Safekeeping? How School Security Ofcer and Camera
Presence Inuence StudentsPerceptions of Safety, Equity, and
D1X XSarah Lindstrom Johnson, D2X XPh.D.
*,D3X XJessika Bottiani, D4X XPh.D.
,D5X XTracy E. Waasdorp, D6X XPh.D.
, and
D7X XCatherine P. Bradshaw, D8X XPh.D.
School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
School of Education, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
Article History: Received December 12, 2017; Accepted June 16, 2018
Keywords: School security; School surveillance; Violence prevention; School safety
Purpose: Target hardening, or increasing the use of security measures, is a frequently used response to
perceived safety concerns in schools. Studies are mixed as to their effectiveness on studentsperceptions
of safety and little is known about their inuence on other aspects of school climate, particularly for
minority students. This study will examine the association between observed security measures in sec-
ondary schools and studentsperceptions of safety, equity, and support.
Methods: School climate surveys were completed by 54,350 students from 98 middle and high schools
across the state of Maryland beginning in Spring 2014. Concurrent observations of the school physical
environment, including security measures (i.e., ofcers and cameras), were conducted by trained outside
assessors. Multilevel regression analyses examined the association between school security ofcers and
cameras and studentsperceptions of safety, equity, and support, while controlling for school and neigh-
borhood characteristics. Cross-level interactions explored differential effects of security measures for
Black students.
Results: Greater use of security cameras inside the school was related to lower perceptions of safety,
equity, and support. A moderate level of security camera use outside the school was related to higher
student perceptions of support. Security ofcer presence was associated with higher perceptions of
safety. For black students, cameras were associated with elevated perceptions of safety and support rela-
tive to white students.
Conclusions: Our ndings may suggest that outside cameras and security may be perceived by students
as safekeeping, whereas inside cameras may evoke feelings of being viewed as potential perpetrators
who need surveillance.
© 2018 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. All rights reserved.
The presence of security
measures in schools has
increased in the past
decade, partly as a
response to high-prole
incidents of school vio-
lence. This research sug-
gests that schools should
be thoughtful about the
type, quantity, and location
of security measures as
they can negatively impact
studentsperceptions of
the school.
As public concern has heightened following mass shootings and
other violent incidents on school grounds, the approach of target
hardening, or strengthening school security measures has become
increasingly favored in U.S. schools [1]. According to the U.S.
Department of Education, the use of these measures has increased
substantially since the early 2000s, with the vast majority of sec-
ondary schools currently reporting using security cameras to
IThis work was presented at the 2015 Society for Prevention Research Annual
*Address correspondence to: Sarah Lindstrom Johnson, Ph.D.,Q3 X XSchool of Social and
Family Dynamics, Arizona State University, PO Box 873701, Tempe, AZ 85287.
E-mail address: (S. Lindstrom Johnson), (J. Bottiani), (T.E. Waasdorp), (C.P. Bradshaw).
1054-139X/© 2018 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. All rights reserved.
Journal of Adolescent Health 000 (2018) 17
monitor school grounds and deploying security staff at least once
per week [2]. Despite the prevalence of use, research drawing
upon large, nationally represented samples suggests null and even
iatrogenic effects of these types of security measures on rates of
school violence and victimization [36]. These ndings may be
attributable to concomitant negative effects of security measures
on school climate, which can, when assessed as positive and sup-
portive, protect against school violence and victimization [7]. This
study will examine the association between observed security
measures in secondary schools and studentsperceptions of school
Approaches to school violence prevention
Target hardening is a form of situational crime prevention,
which attempts to reduce opportunities for crime. It is based on
the broader criminological theory, Routine Activities Theory [8],
which focuses crime prevention efforts on the situation rather
than on the individual perpetrating the crime. Studies have found
aspects of the school physical environment, such as lighting and
disorder, to be related to studentsand teachersreports of crime
and violence [9]. Studies more specically examining the impact of
security measures have found mixed results. Some longitudinal
studies have found no relationship between the presence of secu-
rity ofcers or cameras and student report of peer victimization
[4], larceny, or assault [5] and other studies have found that
increasing security guards was associated with an increase in
administrator report of nonserious violence [3]. Taken together,
more research is needed to understand how target hardening, spe-
cically the use of security measures, relates to violent and other
delinquent behaviors.
Improving school climate has also been suggested as a mecha-
nism to reduce school violence. In its most fundamental conceptu-
alization, school climate refers to the shared beliefs, values, and
attitudes that shape interactions between students, teachers, and
administrators and set the parameter of acceptable behavior and
norms for the school [10]. A favorable school climate has been
associated with both improved behavioral and academic outcomes
for students [7]. Some denitions of school climate, including the
U.S. Department of Educations, expand the construct to include
safety and the environment, while others see it as a factor that
inuences school climate [10,11]. Regardless, as safety and the
physical environment are intentionally impacted by target harden-
ing initiatives, the inuence of security measures on studentsper-
ceptions of these domains is important to understand. For
example, such security measures could promote studentssense
that they are protected and that their safety is important to the
school [9]. In contrast, the presence of security measures may sig-
nal to students that they are not safe at their school [12]. More-
over, students may perceive security measures as an indicator of
the disciplinary environment of the school, where adults at school
view them as potential perpetrators who require surveillance [13].
Finally, as security measures are disproportionately present in
poor, predominantly black schools [14,15] they may result in per-
ceptions of inequitable treatment.
Effects of security measures on perceptions of school climate
An often-studied effect of security measures is on studentsper-
ceptions of safety. In one multilevel analysis, such practices did not
signicantly reduce perceptions of risk or fear of crime [16]; other
studies employing longitudinal national survey data found that
school security efforts were associated with decreases in percep-
tions of safety [12,17]. Conversely, research suggests students and
faculty see physical characteristics, in particular school security
ofcers and cameras, as important contributors to a safe school
[18,19], especially when students feel unsafe [20]. It may be that
regardless of the actual effectiveness of security measures, stu-
dents perceive them as safekeeping measures. Given the apparent
contradiction between student and staff preferences for security
and research suggesting possible iatrogenic effects of security on
perceptions of safety, it is important to examine related aspects of
safety (i.e., perceptions of support).
Increased security measures may unfairly contribute to the
criminalization of black studentsbehavior (e.g., the school to
prison pipeline)[21]. The differential implementation of security
measures may also promote feelings of inequitable treatment,
which can impact studentssense of connectedness to their school
[11]. Indeed, a growing literature highlights racial gaps in students
perceptions of school climate [22,23]. Interestingly, one study
examined differences by race and found security ofcers increased
fear for white students but not for black students [24]; yet research
examining the role of security measures in explaining racial dis-
parities in school climate is limited.
Overview of the current study
Although public debate on use of security measures often spikes
following traumatic events like the shootings at Marjory Stoneman
Douglas High and Sandy Hook Elementary schools, more work is
needed to understand whether such security measures signal safety or
greater concern for students [25]. The overarching goal of this paper
was to explore how independently assessed school security practices
relate to student perceptions of safety, support, and equity. A novel
contribution of this study is its use of an observational measure of the
school physical environment; this methodological approach has many
advantages over the prior work, which has largely relied on student
and principal report of security measures [3,4]. Based on the existing
literature we hypothesized that the presence of security measures
wouldbeassociatedwithlowerperceivedsafety[9,12], but higher per-
ceived support [1820]. We also aimed to broaden our understanding
of these associations by exploring differential perceptions by student
ethnicity, given the increased use of such security measures in more
disadvantaged schools [15].Specically, we considered potential dif-
ferences in effects for black students, while adjusting for school contex-
tual features like neighborhood disadvantage. Based on prior work
[11], we expected the presence of security measures to be associated
with decreases in equity for black students. These ndings have the
potential to inform policies and practices related to school safety, par-
ticularly in light of growing disparities between black and white stu-
dents on a range of academic and behavioral outcomes [7,26].
Specically, the use of security measures may negatively inuence per-
ceptions of school climate, which may in turn negatively inuence stu-
dent health and well-being [7] and exacerbate health and educational
Data come from a statewide project focused on measuring and
improving school climate called the Maryland Safe and Supportive
Schools Initiative [27]. Data were collected from 54,350 students
2S. Lindstrom Johnson et al. / Journal of Adolescent Health 00 (2018) 17
in 98 middle and high schools across 13 school districts within the
state of Maryland (see Table 1).
The Maryland State Department of Education conducted dis-
trict-wide meetings with principals to recruit schools to voluntar-
ily participate in the project. An anonymous web-based survey
was administered during the spring semester of 2014 (high
schools) and 2016 (middle schools) to students in grades 6-12
using passive parent consent and youth assent. School staff admin-
istered the voluntary and anonymous survey to students in lan-
guage arts classrooms following a written script; 25 classrooms
were sampled from the high schools and 18 classrooms sampled
from the middle schools. Data collectors hired and trained by the
research team conducted systematic observations of the school
physical environment during the same spring semester when the
student data were collected. All data were entered in real-time on
a handheld tablet using the Pendragon mobile data collection soft-
ware. Observers were trained and reliability and recalibration pro-
cedures were conducted to ensure consistency of collection [28].
De-identied data were used for these analyses. The Institutional
Review Boards at Johns Hopkins University and the University of
Virginia approved this project.
Outcomes. Student self-report data come from the Maryland Safe
and Supportive Schools Initiative School Climate Survey that was
developed around the U.S. Department of Educations model of
school climate [29] and includes items regarding safety, engage-
ment, and environment [27]. Specically, student perceptions of
school safety were measured by 4 items assessing their sense of
physical safety at school (e.g., I feel safe at this school;a= .60).
Perceived school equity was measured by four items assessing stu-
dentsperceptions of fair treatment and cultural inclusion at school
by race and ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and cultural
background (e.g., At this school, students of all races are treated
the same;a=.82). Student perceptions of school support were
measured by three items assessing perceptions of the availability
of help for personal problems (e.g., "Students who need help for
their problems are able to get it through school;a= .77). For all
three outcomes, item response options were on a 4-point Likert
scale from disagree strongly (1) to agree strongly (4), with higher
scores indicating higher levels of the construct.
Predictors. The School Assessment for Environmental Typology is
an observational tool which draws on several previously validated
measures and assesses three broad dimensions of the school envi-
ronment, including surveillance [28]. Specically, ofcer presence
was measured as a count of the instances of whether in a security
capacity was present at each of two locations, entrance to the
school grounds and the school entrance. Inside cameras were
counted using the aggregate of six observed interior locations
within the school building, including two hallways, two stairwells,
the school entrance, and the cafeteria. Outside cameras were
counted using the aggregate of ve observed exterior locations on
school grounds, including entrance to the school grounds, the
physical layout (e.g., perimeter of the school), playing elds, and
parking lots. Due to the skewed distribution, for each variable (out-
side and inside), the count was binned into tertiles, and dummy
variables were created to allow comparisons to the lowest tertile
bin as the reference group.
Covariates. Students were asked to self-identify their grade, gen-
der and their race (i.e., white, black, Hispanic, Asian, other). The
Maryland State Department of Education provided information
about the number of enrolled students and the percent minority
rate in each school. We also used the community disadvantage
index from the 20082013 American Community Survey to assess
the larger community context [30,31]. The community disadvan-
tage index is calculated using Census-tract level items. The items
used to create the index include the percentages of: (a) adults >24
years with a college degree, (b) owner-occupied housing, (c)
households with incomes below the federal poverty threshold,
and (d) female-headed households with children. Each school was
assigned a Census tract using ArcMap.
Data analysis
To account for the multilevel structure of the data, represented
by students within classrooms within schools, three-level hierar-
chical linear models were conducted in the HLM software [32].At
the individual level, we included gender (female), grade, and race/
ethnicity (dummy coded with white as the reference group). Given
students took the survey within classrooms, this cluster was
accounted for the modeling (i.e., level 2); however, no other varia-
bles were assessed at this level. At the school level, we included
school security measures of ofcer presence and security cameras,
the latter of which were assessed separately as inside cameras or
outside cameras (broken into tertiles with the lowest tertile as the
reference group). We adjusted for the disadvantage index score,
enrollment, and percentage of non-white students (% minority). For
main effect models, student-level and school-level variables were
grand-mean centered. Due to our hypotheses that camera and
security ofcer presence would differentially relate to student-
reported safety, equity, and support among black relative to white
students, cross-level effects between black race and the school
security features were tested for each outcome. For these cross-
level interactions, the student-level variable (race/ethnicity) in the
tested interactions was group-mean centered. Each student-level
variable was individually tested for randomly varying slopes.
Table 1
Student and school demographic characteristics for full sample
Student characteristics (N = 54,350) N (%)
Male 27,040 (49.8)
Female 27,310 (50.2)
Black 15,904 (29.3)
White 23,195 (42.7)
Hispanic 6,031 (11.1)
Asian 3,209 (5.9)
Other/Combined 6,011 (11.1)
Lower 24,017 (44.2)
Upper 30,333 (55.8)
School characteristics (N = 98 schools) M(SD)
Community disadvantage index ¡1.99 (1.08)
Total enrollment 1,136.51 (443.74)
% Minority 55.82 (24.65)
% Locations with 1+ Ofcers present 37.8%
Count of inside cameras 15.6 (7.5)
Count of outside cameras 19.5 (14.3)
SD = standard deviation.
S. Lindstrom Johnson et al. / Journal of Adolescent Health 00 (2018) 173
Model t indices (Akaike information criteria (AIC) and Bayesian
information criterion (BIC)) for the unconditional and conditional
models are reported on the tables; smaller values indicate better
Sample weighting
When computing the multilevel analyses, we weighted the stu-
dent self-reported school climate data to reect the entire student
population in the 98 participating schools. Specically, sampling
weights were created using the raking method [34], an iterative
procedure that produces weights based on marginal results from
multiple variables (i.e., grade level, sex, and race/ethnicity).
Descriptive analyses
Across all 98 schools in the sample, the range of indoor cameras
observed was 524 (M= 15.6, standard deviation = 7.5) cameras. The
range of outdoor cameras was larger, 069 (M= 19.5.5, standard
deviation = 14.3) cameras. For ofcer presence at the time of obser-
vation, 37.8% of the school sample had one or more ofcers present
at the entrances inside and outside of the school building.
Multilevel analyses
Safety. In schools with the greatest number of cameras inside the
building, students had lower perceptions of safety (b = ¡.07) rela-
tive to schools with the fewest number of cameras inside the
building. There was no signicant association overall for outside
cameras. However, cross-level interactions examining whether the
number of cameras present outside the school moderated differen-
ces in perceived safety for black students were found to be signi-
cant (b = .07). Specically, the positive association between high
count of outside cameras and perceived safety for black students
was signicantly greater than it was for white students (see Figure
1A). Conversely, the negative association between high count of
indoor cameras and perceived safety for black students was signi-
cantly less than it was for white students (see Figure 1B). In our
analysis of school security ofcer presence, we found that in
schools with a greater number of locations with an ofcer present,
students had signicantly higher perceptions of safety (b = .05).
Females and younger students perceived school to be less safe rel-
ative to males and older students; Latino and Other race/ethnici-
ties perceived school to be less safe as compared to white
students. Regarding the school-level variables, higher community
disadvantage index, higher enrollment, and higher percentage of
minority students in a school were signicantly associated with
lower perceived school safety.
Equity. In schools with the greatest number of cameras inside the
building, students had lower perceptions of equity (b = ¡.08). No
associations between number of outdoor cameras or security of-
cer presence and student perceptions of equity were found. None
of the cross-level interactions were signicant. Females, younger
students, and all racial/ethnic groups perceived school as less equi-
table. Regarding the school-level control variables, higher commu-
nity disadvantage index was signicantly associated with lower
perceived school equity.
Support. In schools with the greatest number of cameras inside the
building, students had lower perceptions of support (b = ¡.10).
Conversely, in schools in the middle tertile of number of outside
cameras present, students had higher perceptions of support
(b = .08). No associations between security ofcer presence and
student perceptions of support were found. Cross-level interac-
tions between black and number of cameras present in the school
were found to be signicant. Specically, an inverse pattern of
association was found for black and white students (b = .06). For
black students, perceived support was higher for students in
schools within the mid tertile of inside cameras, whereas for white
students, perceived support was lower for students in schools
within the mid tertile of inside cameras (see Figure 1C). At the stu-
dent-level, females and younger students perceived school to be
less supportive. Black and Other race/ethnicities perceived school
to be less supportive compared to white students. Regarding the
school-level covariates, the higher the community disadvantage
index and the percentage of minority students in the school were
associated with lower perceived school support (see Table 2).
Given the wide use of security ofcers and cameras, and their
potential to inuence studentsschool experiences, this paper
examined associations of observed security measures on students
perceptions of school safety, equity, and support using a multilevel
framework. Our ndings suggested that the associations with cli-
mate perceptions varied as a function of the locations, extent, and
type of security measures utilized. Specically, a higher number of
security cameras inside the school building was negatively associ-
ated with studentsperceptions of safety, equity, and support; this
suggests potential iatrogenic effects of cameras within the school.
In contrast, outside cameras produced mixed ndings, including
null effects for safety and equity and positive associations with
perceptions of support at moderate levels. Interestingly, in schools
with higher levels inside and outside cameras, black students
tended to have signicantly more favorable views of school safety
and support, but not equity, relative to white students.
One possible interpretation of our ndings is that students may
perceive a difference in the use of security cameraseither as pro-
tecting them from harm coming from outside the school (e.g., safe-
keeping, as with outside cameras) or monitoring them (e.g.,
surveillance, as with inside cameras). Specically, the highest level
of inside camera use was associated with lower perceptions of
safety, equity, and support. Qualitative studies provide insight into
this nding as students perceive certain security measures (like
metal detectors) as unnecessary inconveniences and feel misbe-
having students are not deterred by this security presence [9,35].
It is interesting that there appeared to be a threshold above which
a certain number of inside cameras were negatively associated
with school climate. In contrast, outside cameras were associated
with higher perceived school support. Studies have found that stu-
dents who feel unsafe tend to rate security measures (e.g., surveil-
lance) as more important [20], with students recognizing the role
of neighborhood violence in school safety [18]. This critical nding
of differential effect by camera location suggests the importance of
context (here captured by inside and outside), and may help us
better understand prior mixed ndings on the effects of cameras.
Other aspects of context, such as the discernibility of cameras, rep-
resent important future research questions.
With regard to the second form of security measures examined,
we found that security ofcer presence was positively associated
4S. Lindstrom Johnson et al. / Journal of Adolescent Health 00 (2018) 17
White Black
Low-Tertile Outside Camera High-Tertile Outside Camera
White Black
Low-Tertile Inside Camera High-Tertile Inside Camera
White Black
Low-Tertile Inside Camera Mid-Tertile Inside Camera
Figure 1. (A) Outside cameras and perceptions of school safety. (B) Inside cameras and perceptions of school safety. (C) Inside cameras and perceptions of school support.
S. Lindstrom Johnson et al. / Journal of Adolescent Health 00 (2018) 175
with student perceptions of safety, but was not associated with
perceptions of equity or support. These ndings are in contrast to
previous work which has found no association between school
security ofcers and studentsperceptions of safety [12,16,17];
however, the prior studies have relied on administrator or parent
report of security measures, whereas our observational measure
may have better captured student exposure to security ofcers.
Other studies exploring the association between school security
and victimization have found this relationship to vary by type of
security personal and use of force capabilities [36]. Additional
research is needed to explore in greater depth the characteristics
of ofcers (e.g., values, beliefs, skills, and race), and their relation-
ships with students, which may help clarify our ndings.
Our ndings also suggested that associations with security cam-
eras may differ based on studentsrace, with the conceptualization
of race in the present research as a social position variable and a
construct signifying the potential for exposure to racial bias. Given
this view of race we did not anticipate our nding that the negative
association of inside cameras on perceptions of safety was less for
black students or that the positive association of outside cameras on
support was greater than it was for white students. Although these
ndings are surprising they are consistent with some prior studies
[33,34]. Notably, we found no signicant moderating effect of secu-
rity measures on perceptions of equity among black relative to white
students, suggesting that disparities in perceived school equitable
treatment were not sensitive to differences in quantity of security
cameras or presence of ofcers. Given black studentsexposure to
harmful bias and discrimination in schools settings [33,35,36],and
the history of negative interactions with police in black communities
[34,37], further research focused on black studentsexperiences
involving school security ofcers and cameras is critical.
Limitations and Strengths
The cross-sectional nature of our data limits any causal inferences
about the associations observed. It is possible that the associations
may reect that high levels of disorder may cause school administra-
tors to install more security cameras and deploy security personnel
while also causing students to have more negative views of school
climate [5]; however, we did control for a place-based measure of
community disadvantage to address this potential confounding.
Moreover, the use of data from multiple informants (student self-
report, independent observer report, and census tract data) is a
strength of this study. Nonetheless, in designing the observation,
choices were made as to the locations to assess security measures.
For example, school security ofcers were only recorded at their
most visible locations (i.e., entrance to the school grounds and the
entrance to the school building). Like our nding with cameras it
may be that security ofcers in different locations of the school could
be associated with differential ndings [35]. As previously noted, the
observational measure did not account for the characteristics of
security ofcers or the nature of their relationships with students.
Table 2
Associations between observations of security measures and student perceptions of safety, equity, and support
Safety Equity Support
b Standard
pb Standard
pb Standard
Student-level variables
Female (vs. male) ¡.04 .01 .001 ¡.05 .01 <.001 ¡.02 .01 .022
Grade (6th through 12th) ¡.02 .01 .007 ¡.04 .01 <.001 ¡.04 .01 <.001
.00 .02 .971 ¡.06 .02 .006 ¡.03 .01 .019
Latino ¡.03 .01 .008 ¡.08 .02 <.001 ¡.03 .02 .092
Asian/Pacic Islander ¡.04 .02 .051 ¡.06 .02 .009 .04 .02 .065
¡.09 .02 <.001 ¡.15 .02 <.001 ¡.11 .01 <.001
School-level variables
Mid inside cameras (vs. low tertiles) ¡.01 .03 .707 .04 .04 .263 ¡.02 .03 .515
High inside cameras (vs. low tertiles) ¡.07 .03 .044 ¡.08 .04 .046 ¡.10 .03 .003
Mid outside cameras (vs. low tertiles) .05 .03 .183 .07 .04 .062 .08 .03 .008
High outside cameras (vs. low tertiles) .03 .04 .502 .09 .04 .052 .05 .04 .139
Ofcer presence .05 .02 .010 .02 .02 .260 .01 .02 .620
% Minority ¡.002 .00 <.001 .00 .001 .457 ¡.00 .001 .017
Enrollment .00 .00 .024 .00 .00 .396 .00 .00 .299
Community disadvantage index ¡.06 .01 <.001 ¡.04 .01 .002 ¡.03 .01 .015
Cross-level interactions
Mid inside cameras £black .04 .03 .189 .00 .04 .936 .06 .03 .034
High inside cameras £black .06 .03 .042 .00 .04 .994 .04 .03 .190
Mid outside cameras £black ¡.01 .03 .693 .02 .04 .679 .00 .03 .997
High outside cameras £black .07 .03 .030 .01 .04 .884 .03 .03 .416
Ofcer presence £black ¡.03 .02 .067 ¡.02 .02 .498 .00 .02 .830
AIC unconditional 86,537.94 108,756.8 106,784
AIC nal 85,373.46 107,979.9 106,237.4
BIC unconditional 86,534.52 108,753.4 106,780.5
BIC nal 107,838.5 85,232.04 106,131.9
ICC .030 .048 .016
Low tertile of inside cameras = 511; Mid tertile of inside cameras = 1216; High tertile of inside cameras = 1742. Low tertile of outside cameras = 010; Mid tertile of out-
side cameras =1124; High tertile of outside cameras = 2569.
All analyses controlled for intervention status. AIC = Akaike information critieria; BIC = Bayesian information criteria.
yp<.10, *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001.
White is the reference group.
Other represents American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Other.
6S. Lindstrom Johnson et al. / Journal of Adolescent Health 00 (2018) 17
Concerns remain about the overall effectiveness of security of-
cers and cameras, which represent a potentially signicant nan-
cial investment for schools and districts [25]. One understudied
potentially harmful effect of security measures on health and men-
tal health is their inuence on school climate, particularly for black
students. These ndings suggest important differences in the inu-
ence of security measures on studentsperceptions of the school by
type, location, and extent of their use. Taken together, our ndings
may suggest that outside cameras and security may be perceived
by students as safekeeping, whereas inside cameras may evoke
feelings of being regarded as potential perpetrators who need sur-
veillance. School administrators and district leaders should care-
fully weigh the research evidence supporting the use of various
security measures, including consideration of the location and
extent of their use, and how those decisions may vary as a function
of student and school contextual factors.
Funding Sources
This work was funded in part by grants from the U.S. Depart-
ment of Education to the Maryland State Department of Education
and the National Institute of Justice (2014-CK-BX-0005) to Cather-
ine Bradshaw.
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... Video data from household surveillance cameras are increasingly used to check in on children and pets (e.g., Ur et al., 2014;Bernd et al., 2022), provide insurance claim information (e.g., Wong et al., 2009;Ahmad et al., 2019), and protect from theft (e.g., Pandya et al., 2018). As a society, we also are increasingly publicly surveilled waiting at a stoplight by state and local departments of transportation (e.g., Zhang et al., 2022), in a grocery store to better understand retail behavior and prevent theft (e.g., Alikhani and Renzetti, 2022), and even in school classrooms for safety-related and distance learning purposes (e.g., Johnson et al., 2018;King and Bracy, 2019;Fisher et al., 2020). ...
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Geocoding is a spatial analysis method that uses address information (e.g., street address, intersection, census tract, zip code, etc.) to determine geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude). In recent decades, geocoding has gone beyond its primary use for census and demographic information to novel applications in disaster risk reduction, even to earthquake early warning. Here I demonstrate the usefulness of geocoding techniques to earthquake early warning systems as applied to case studies that relied on survey response data and crowd-sourced video footage. These datasets were initially collected to understand the efficacy of tests conducted on ShakeAlert®, the earthquake early warning system for the West Coast of the United States, and how people behave during earthquakes, respectively. Geocoding these data can improve our overall technical understanding of the system, demonstrate whether individuals take protective actions such as ‘Drop, Cover, and Hold On’, and spotlight community demographics that the system is reaching or unintentionally missing. The combination of these social science datasets with geocoding information deepens our knowledge of these fundamentally human-centered systems, including how to improve the distribution of alerts for people and individuals with access and functional needs. In the future, this work may help verify U.S. Geological Survey ‘Did You Feel It?’ responses and seismic intensity, especially in regions with sparse seismic networks.
... Similarly, the literature on surveillance measures reveals no conclusive evidence of impact on school safety or students' perceptions of safety in their school environment (Bachman et al., 2011;Bracy, 2011;Gastic, 2011;Lindstrom Johnson et al., 2018;Perumean-Chaney & Sutton, 2013;Reingle Gonzalez et al., 2016;Schwartz et al., 2016;Tanner-Smith et al., 2018;Tillyer et al., 2011). Other studies found that surveillance measures are associated with higher discipline rates and lead to lower levels of academic achievement, extracurricular participation, civic engagement, and parental involvement (Kupchik, 2016;Mowen, 2015;Mowen & Freng, 2019;Mowen & Manierre, 2017). ...
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Increases in student experiences with social and mental health, acts of violence, and the school-to-prison nexus have prompted many schools to evaluate alternatives to safety that are equitable, inclusive, and student and family-centered. Punitive approaches to school safety have been shown to disproportionately affect underserved schools and students, especially racially- and ethnically-minoritized students, students with disabilities, LGBTQ + students, and students of low socioeconomic status. Building on an equity-based framework, we reviewed the literature on school safety alternatives that promote a safe, inclusive campus and foster students' overall wellbeing. In our scoping review, we identified 17 alternatives aligned with the equity-based framework. We then used an integrative review to organize these alternatives into four approaches: Equity and Inclusion, Social-psychological, Community-based, and Self-governance. Research findings of these approaches support the adoption of programs and practices across these four areas to enhance students’ overall well-being and provide an equitable and safe environment for all within the school community.
... The overreliance on authoritarian strategies to reduce violence and control behavior has made schools feel less safe to students that attend them. Johnson et al. (2018) note that there is a negative relationship between students' perception of safety, equity, and support, with the number of security cameras inside the school building. While a majority of school aged children agreed that authoritarian measures can promote safety (Brown, 2005), a case can be made that these efforts do more harm than good as technologies may offer a false sense of safety. ...
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The fear of violence in schools has compelled school systems to use a variety of authoritarian methods to control students' behavior. This work seeks to understand why these methods of behavioral control are used in some schools but not in others. Using the school survey on crime and safety, the authors explore the extent that the behavioral control strategies at diverse schools are more reminiscent of correctional facilities than institutions of learning. This analysis offers a nuanced view of the carceral elements in schools, where student body diversity is linked to some aspects of the carceral state but not others. Previous research suggests that strategies that seek to nurture the minds of young people are giving way to practices that criminalize school discipline, with the latter more likely to be instituted in poor, majority-minority schools. The present analysis finds that other factors, which are non-diversity related, are associated with authoritarian forms of control in schools, and suggests that all students, not just Black and Latino kids, are experiencing carceral elements.
... In their study, Lindstrom et al. (2018) intended to determine if students' perceptions of safety, equity, and support were related to the security measures that were really in place in secondary schools. Lower views of safety, equality, and support were associated with increased usage of surveillance cameras within the classroom. ...
The study was intended to establish the effect of school security and safety on learners’ academic performance in selected primary schools in Majanji Sub County, Busia District. With intent to find out the factors influencing learners’ academic performance as well as identifying the strategies in place to cater for school security and also determine the effect of school security strategies on learners’ academic performance. Findings showed cases of early pregnancies or early marriages, failure to consider children’s rights and presence of learners with emotional problems. Conclusively, an unsafe school is more likely to result in students who have emotional problems, particularly direct victims of violence or bullying. Consider setting up a hotline to allow victims and witnesses to report occurrences in confidence. Some public schools are increasingly enforcing uniforms for all pupils, just like private institutions. Thus, the study recommends that schools work with the parents together with development partners and government to put up security systems in schools for learners’ safety.
... Comfort variables are often described as Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) and include thermal comfort, lighting, humidity, acoustics, and ventilation [37,38]. Noise, lighting, temperature, air quality, and furniture have been linked to mental health and stress in non-school settings [39,40], while school built environment factors linked to perceived safety have included poor supervision, noise, crowding, disorder (e.g., litter, vandalism, graffiti) and security features (e.g., fences, security cameras) [2,17,[41][42][43]. Additionally, feeling unsafe at school has been associated with greater involvement in bullying incidents [44,45]. ...
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Interest in how the school built environment impacts bullying behaviour has gained momentum in recent years. While numerous studies have identified locations within schools where bullying frequently occurs, few studies have investigated the potential conceptual pathways linking school locations to bullying behaviour. This study aimed to (i) identify school built environment factors that may prevent or facilitate bullying behaviour in primary and secondary schools; and (ii) develop a conceptual model of potential pathways between the school built environment and bullying behaviour for future anti-bullying intervention research. Seventy individual semi-structured interviews were conducted between May and December 2020, with policymakers (n = 22), school staff (n = 12), parents (n = 18), and students (n = 18). School staff, parents and students, were recruited from six metropolitan primary and secondary schools in Perth, Western Australia. Interviews were conducted online and face-to-face using semi-structured interview guides. A thematic analysis was undertaken. Participants identified school bullying locations (e.g., locker areas, bathrooms, corridors) and built environment factors linked to bullying behaviour via (i) visibility and supervision; (ii) physical and psychological comfort and safety; and (iii) social-emotional competencies. The findings have policy and practice implications regarding the design of school built environments to prevent bullying behaviour.
The school-to-prison pipeline (STPP) describes in shorthand the problematic relationship between some students’ school experiences and their subsequent incarceration. One summer, in response to vocal concerned parents, a suburban school board adopted a zero-tolerance policy for smoking and vaping. Through the combined effects of the zero-tolerance approach, exclusionary punishments, the presence of SROs (school resource officers), racially disproportionate disciplinary practices, and a culturally nonresponsive school setting, 90 students were introduced to the criminal justice system in one school year. This case helps school leaders examine the elements of the STPP and how they work together to damaging effect. The questions and activities will guide readers to develop multiple ways to forestall and/or repair STPP supporting policies and practices.
Purpose There is a robust study on crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) in student housing nowadays, but has a limited utilization of weight-of-evidence (W-o-E) approach. This study aims to assess the extent of CPTED in student housing facilities of universities in Ghana. Design/methodology/approach Using the on-campus student housing facilities of both private and public universities, the study adopted W-o-E approach that integrates two postoccupancy evaluations from end-users and student housing managers. In addition, observation by professionals as the lines of evidence (LoE) was also adopted. Weighted median was used to normalise the LoE into a W-o-E as the CPTED value in the student housing facilities. Findings The study uncovered low CPTED in the student housing facilities. Maintenance was identified as the leading CPTED principle present in the student housing facilities. Practical implications The study has given the extent of CPTED in students’ housing, an important insight for university students’ housing management. This can serve as a policy alert for the university students’ housing management to adopt building designs that enhance CPTED and the safety of the youth. Originality/value This study is different from other CPTED and students’ housing studies commonly situated in the Euro-America context. The study exceptionally applied the use of W-o-E in students’ housing in assessing the extent of CPTED in student housing within the context of sub-Saharan African universities.
Given the access and opportunity schools provide as a setting for programming to improve school climate and youth mental health outcomes, it is not surprising that models which aim to optimize the school context could both directly benefit youth and improve the delivery of programs. Of particular relevance is the concept of school climate, which attends to the organizational aspects of the school. The school climate literature emphasizes the importance of the collection of multi-informant data to increase the identification of needs for other evidence-based programming. In addition to targeting school climate for improving outcomes, these contextual factors may also moderate the fidelity with which such programs are implemented. As such, school climate is an important factor to consider when aiming to improve the school environment and scale-up of evidence-based programming. In this chapter, we review the literature on various models of school climate, including topics related to measurement, data collection, data analysis, and decision-making, as well as prevention and promotion planning. We consider several programs and frameworks that have been shown to improve school climate, which in turn may also promote contextual readiness of schools and educators to implement other evidence-based programs as well as the outcomes achieved by those programs.
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Objective: This study explored how observed features of the school physical and social environment relate to students’ perceptions of school climate and how these in turn were associated with students’ involvement in violence. Method: Observational assessments were conducted of the environments (i.e., disorder, illumination, adult monitoring, proactive behavioral management, and negative student behaviors) of 58 high schools using a validated assessment (the School Assessment for Environmental Typology). Student perceptions of school climate (i.e., delinquency, rules and consequences, and physical comfort) as well as their perpetration of violence were collected from 28,592 adolescents in these same schools in the corresponding Spring. Multilevel structural equation models were used to test for indirect effects. Results: A good fit was found for all models. No direct effects of environmental observations on violence involvement were identified. However, significant indirect effects on violence were found, specifically for illumination through perceptions of disorder (estimate = −.01, p = .05), illumination through perceptions of rules and consequences (estimate = −.01, p = .03), and negative student behaviors through perceptions of rules and consequences (estimate = −.01, p = .01). Conclusion: Changes to the school environment may be associated with reduced violence involvement, but only insofar as they alter student perceptions of the environment.
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Supportive relationships with adults at school are critical to student engagement in adolescence. Additional research is needed to understand how students' racial backgrounds interact with the school context to shape their perceptions of school support. This study employed multilevel, latent variable methods with a sample of Black and White students (N = 19,726, 35.8 % Black, 49.9 % male, mean age = 15.9) in 58 high schools to explore variation in perceived caring, equity, and high expectations by student race, school diversity, and socioeconomic context. The results indicated that Black students perceived less caring and equity relative to White students overall, and that equity and high expectations were lower in diverse schools for both Black and White students. Nonetheless, racial disparities were attenuated in more diverse schools. The findings point to the need for intervention to improve perceptions of school support for Black youth and for all students in lower income and more diverse schools.
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The use of security measures has drastically increased in the hallways of US schools over the past three decades. Although previous studies have assessed the impact of school security measures on student outcomes, little attention has been given to understanding what factors lead schools to adopt such measures. Using the Educational Longitudinal Study data and guided by minority threat hypotheses, the current research assesses the impact of school racial composition on the use of security measures. Findings indicate the size of the Black student population is related to schools utilizing metal detectors, security guards, surveillance cameras, required 'check-in' areas and fencing around the entire school, while a null effect was found between Hispanic student representation and the majority of security measures. On the other hand, both Black and Hispanic student representation significantly related to the overall number of security measures utilized within schools. The differential impact of race and ethnicity is addressed.
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Purpose – Recent highly publicized acts of violence and shootings on campus have prompted numerous crime prevention suggestions including having an armed presence in the schools. The purpose of this paper is to assess the impact of protective measures, policies, and school/neighborhood characteristics on school violence. Design/methodology/approach – The data used in this study were part of the School Survey on Crime and Safety collected in 2006. The dependent measures of school violence include reports of violence, threatened attack with a weapon, attack with weapon, and gun possession. The sample was divided into high schools and all other grades to consider differences in levels of school violence among grade levels in relation to various law enforcement security measures, school security measures, and school characteristics. Findings – Findings revealed mixed and often counterproductive results for law enforcement and school security efforts to control school violence. School characteristics, such as reports of bullying, location, and gang activity yielded numerous statistically significant findings. Policy recommendations and suggestions for future research are provided. Originality/value – This study differs from much of the previous literature, which typically examines student and administrator attitudes about victimization and crime prevention. The current study examines detailed information on the actual effects of school violence prevention efforts. Furthermore, this study moves beyond most other works (that typically focus on high schools) as it considers school safety approaches by different grade levels.
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This study used student and teacher survey data from over 400 middle schools in California to examine within-school racial disparities in students' experiences of school climate. It further examined the relationship between a school's racial climate gaps and achievement gaps and other school structures and norms that may help explain why some schools have larger or smaller racial disparities in student reports of climate than others. Multilevel regression results problematized the concept of a "school climate" by showing that, in an average middle school, Black and Hispanic students have less favorable experiences of safety, connectedness, relationships with adults, and opportunities for participation compared to White students. The results also show that certain racial school climate gaps vary in magnitude across middle schools, and in middle schools where these gaps are larger, the racial achievement gap is also larger. Finally, the socioeconomic status of students, student-teacher ratio, and geographic location help explain some cross-school variation in racial climate gaps. These findings have implications for how school climate in conceptualized, measured, and improved.
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Massive public attention to school shootings has created the misperception that schools are dangerous places, even though crime statistics show that schools are one of the safest places in the United States. The fear of school shootings has caused many school systems to divert their budgets to excessive building security measures and adopt dubious crisis response plans. School disciplinary practices have shifted toward the criminalization of student misbehavior and a zero tolerance philosophy that fails to improve school safety and results in high rates of student suspensions and dropouts. The use of a threat assessment approach to evaluate individual student behavior in context and resolve conflicts and problems before they escalate into violence is one promising alternative that has been adopted statewide in Virginia public schools. School safety should focus on the everyday problems of bullying and fighting, and apply public health principles of primary and secondary prevention using well-established psychological interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
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Connection to school and school engagement are important in promoting positive youth development, but little is known about their relationship to school characteristics, particularly school equity. School equity, the extent to which there is fair treatment for all students, is critical for ensuring the success for all students. Hierarchical linear models conducted on data from 19,833 adolescents at 52 high schools indicated that greater school equity was associated with improved student connection to school and school engagement. Cross-level interactions were observed between equity and the concentration of minority students in the school, as well as for equity and student mobility. Results suggest that improving school equity may be an important contextual target for promoting positive youth development in schools.
School safety is of great concern for prevention researchers, school officials, parents, and students, yet there are a dearth of assessments that have operationalized school safety from an organizational framework using objective tools and measures. Such a tool would be important for deriving unbiased assessments of the school environment, which in turn could be used as an evaluative tool for school violence prevention efforts. The current paper presents a framework for conceptualizing school safety consistent with Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) model and social disorganization theory, both of which highlight the importance of context as a driver for adolescents' risk for involvement in substance use and violence. This paper describes the development of a novel observational measure, called the School Assessment for Environmental Typology (SAfETy), which applies CPTED and social disorganizational frameworks to schools to measure eight indicators of school physical and social environment (i.e., disorder, trash, graffiti/vandalism, appearance, illumination, surveillance, ownership, and positive behavioral expectations). Drawing upon data from 58 high schools, we provide preliminary data regarding the validity and reliability of the SAfETy and describe patterns of the school safety indicators. Findings demonstrate the reliability and validity of the SAfETy and are discussed with regard to the prevention of violence in schools.
As violence and crime within and around U.S. schools has drawn increased attention to school security, police, surveillance cameras, and other measures have grown commonplace at public schools. Social scientists commonly voice concern that exclusionary security measures are most common in schools attended by poor and non-White students, yet there is little empirical basis for assessing the extent of differential exposure, as we lack research on how exclusionary measures are distributed relative to school and student characteristics. To address this gap in the research, we use nationally representative school-level data from the School Survey on Crime and Safety to consider the security measures employed in elementary, middle, and high schools. Results indicate that while security measures are ubiquitous in U.S. high schools, those considered more exclusionary are concentrated in elementary, middle, and high schools attended by non-White and/or poorer students.
BACKGROUND School climate has been linked to multiple student behavioral, academic, health, and social-emotional outcomes. The US Department of Education (USDOE) developed a 3-factor model of school climate comprised of safety, engagement, and environment. This article examines the factor structure and measurement invariance of the USDOE model.METHODS Drawing upon 2 consecutive waves of data from over 25,000 high school students (46% minority), a series of exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses examined the fit of the Maryland Safe and Supportive Schools Climate Survey with the USDOE model.RESULTSThe results indicated adequate model fit with the theorized 3-factor model of school climate, which included 13 subdomains: safety (perceived safety, bullying and aggression, and drug use); engagement (connection to teachers, student connectedness, academic engagement, school connectedness, equity, and parent engagement); environment (rules and consequences, physical comfort, and support, disorder). We also found consistent measurement invariance with regard to student sex, grade level, and ethnicity. School-level interclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.04 to .10 for the scales.CONCLUSIONS Findings supported the USDOE 3-factor model of school climate and suggest measurement invariance and high internal consistency of the 3 scales and 13 subdomains. These results suggest the 56-item measure may be a potentially efficient, yet comprehensive measure of school climate.