school hallway

Improving School Safety: Advancing Technology and Supporting School Resource Officers

By Richard Craig , Yosry Barsoum

More than 20 years after the Columbine massacre, the nation is still grappling with how to protect students in schools. This report includes recommendations on improving school safety through advanced technology and the deployment of school resource officers.

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While many local districts have had basic safety measures in place for decades, the FBI’s review of active shooter incidents in the U.S. between 2000 and 2019 reports that schools (Pre-K through 12) are the third-most common location for active shooter incidents.

A series of reviews by the National Institute of Justice has concluded that no single school safety technology can ensure security for students. Each school district has different, individualized needs. School Resource Officers (SROs) are critical in recognizing those individual needs and identifying and implementing technologies to protect students from targeted violence.

Providing processes and technologies to help SROs, teachers, and administrators keep students safe depends on federal, state, and local governments providing equitable funding; establishing public-private partnerships to advance technology; and conducting or sponsoring research and data collection—all of which might make a difference in saving children’s lives.