Monday, October 14, 2019

Integrating school safety data for the purpose of safe school program evaluation Essay Example for Free

Integrating school safety data for the purpose of safe school program evaluation Essay Abstract This paper addresses the issue of school safety and what should be done to enhance it. The need for all stakeholders; the government, the school administrations and community to facilitate safe school planning and thus essentially enhance school safety are equally taken into consideration. The paper further provides some of the indicators that are considered while implementing an effective safe school plan and how to assess and evaluate the proven programs. This in essence, provides a general picture of promoting school safety so that incidents of crime can be lessened. In addition, the need to create an enhanced safe environment needs to be sensitized in every school since it has a direct impact to the performance of schools. Introduction This paper considers data that will provide the way best practices and proven programs can be used to enhance school safety. Such a program that has been considered is Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block grants (JAIBG). This kind of a program considers the underlying premise that young people who violet the laws need to be held accountable for the offenses if society is to improve the quality of life in the nations’ communities. It is to this effect that the paper goes beyond and evaluates the accountability of the juveniles in relation to the environment they live in and other surrounding factors. Consequences or sanctions that are applied swiftly, surely, and consistently and are graduated to provide appropriate and effective responses to a varying levels offense seriousness and offender chronics work based, in preventing, controlling and reducing further law violations. There is, therefore the need to use best practices and such like proven programs to enhance school safety. Further more, the safe school planning procedures have to involve all the stakeholders including parent, teachers, government and the community and of course the students. Safe Schools and School Planning In most cases statistics and the government reports determine safe schools but this ought not to be an end by itself. Various questions are raised in defining a safe school due to the difficulty that comes along with the definition. A safe school is considered one in which guards patrol the halls, metal detectors protect all entrances and all violent incidents are reported to the police. Creating a safe school goes beyond eliminating knifing, fighting and shootings. Violence is also subtle things such as name calling; fear of being ridiculed; teasing; offensive touching; racial, ethical, cultural, or sexual slurs; and bullying (Hernandez, 2004). This shows that most violence in school does not occur overnight but it develops over a period of time. According to (Stevick and Levinson, 2003), â€Å"violence is the most extreme manifestation of range of behaviors that run contrary to schools’ expectations and purposes† A safe school is the one in which the total climate allows students, teachers, administrators, staff, and visitors to interact in a positive, non-threatening manner that reflects the educational mission of the school while fostering positive relationships and personal growth. In addition a safe school is one, which repeated absenteeism, inadequate performance, or dropouts, withdrawals or transfers due to feeling afraid in school are progressively reduced. Incidences of disruption, crime and violence are progressively reduced too. Safe school planning is a clear and concise plan for creating a safe school climate. This requires collaborative efforts of parents, students, school personnel, and communities. The plan should contain a written conduct and discipline code, and policy for annual building inspections to eliminate barriers to safety and a policy for annual written report regarding learning environment to be submitted to the relevant authorities. These are proactive measures that should be taken to reduce if not eliminating school-based crimes. A comprehensive planning process based on state law, gives a guideline to a school and the community at large in developing a plan that is relevant and effective. Best practice and Proven Programs Best practice is a management ideal, which asserts that there is a technique, method, process, activity incentive, or reward that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, etc. These are essentially the most efficient and effective ways of accomplishing a task. They are based on repeated procedures that have proven themselves over time for large numbers of people. On the other hand proven programs are those have shown success in their repeated use. Though this is the case, proven programs have to adjust depending on the rising challenges in our society. The proven programs are bound to come up with positive results that are manifested by safety school environment. Purpose of the proven programs is to promote school safety by increasing student accountably for their behavior. This facilitates the development of constructive well-conserved† accountability based programs that work with either juvenile offenders who are referred by law enforcement agents, or which are designed in corporation with law enforcement officials to protect student and school personnel from drug, gang and youth violence. It must be noted, however the accountability based programs operate most effectively when they are part of a comprehensive collaborative approach involving a wide range of partners including students, parents, school faculty, and staff, community residence, members of communities organization, law enforcement justice authorities. Partnership with local juvenile justice systems and schools to establish and maintain accountability based programs, and students’ accountability must work in concert with institutional accountability that addresses the underlying causes of students’ violence and misconduct. School safety programs that emphasis student accountability can be build on the experience of successful community-based delinquency prevention and intervention programs. Comprehensive strategy for serious, violent and chronic juvenile offenders and safe futures program are examples that have proven effective in addressing juvenile delinquency (Wilson, 1993). The comprehensive strategy provides a blue print for establishing a continuum of care to meet the needs of at-risk or delinquent youth while protecting the public from harm. It promotes a systematic approach to prevention and the use of graduate sanctions in dealing with the offenses committed by such individuals and advocates the developments of partnerships between the juvenile court, law enforcement and community. Some of the programmatic strategies derived from the comprehensive strategy and the safe futures programs are applicable to accountability-based school safety initiatives include emphasis on juvenile accountability, develop an expanded and integrated network of social services. In provision of comprehensive strategies there is involvement of law enforcement as a stake holder in community-based efforts to prevent and respond to delinquency. Accountability in a school environment means expecting students to comply with school rules and regulations that reflect community standards or behavior and where necessary, addressing students misconduct with appropriate conduct including school discipline. Programs can take a comprehensive approach to reducing delinquency and misconduct in schools by building student accountability into the school culture. Efforts to enhance school safety should be fully integrated into all aspect of school operation including the learning environment curriculum, administration, staff selection and staff training. Enhancing School Safety through Assessment and Evaluation In enhancing school safety there is the need to understand all the indicators that distinguish a safe school from unsafe schools. One of the indictors that characterize a safe school is the orderliness of the school. This involves a creation of a climate of mutual respect and responsibility. This can be evaluated by the way students relate to others, teachers and staff. Expectations about this amicable relationship are what are accepted and consequences for unacceptable behavior are known and applied where appropriate. Another parameter to measure, evaluate and enhance school safety is to ensure that the school has existing plans, and implement the plans progressively. In addition there should be policies and procedures that address the safety of the school. When these issues are put in place the schools safety is enhance and evaluated. Measures that check the number of trespassers, incident of vandalism, reasons for absenteeism and number of firearms and other weapons have to be taken into account to enhance safety in schools. The environment in which an individual lives in has one to one relationship with the criminal or non-criminal behaviors. In considering the environment there is the need to use Crime Prevention Environment Design to ensure that safety at school is enhanced. This design takes into consideration the relationship between physical environment and the users of that environment. It is equally important to acknowledge that the users of the environment both criminals and honest alike are conscious their environment. They therefore can know and recognize a safe and unsafe environment. In doing so, the environment can be made safe by ensuring that buildings are built in an well-organized way. The doors and windows should not be obstructed. The streets and routes in the school should be well labeled and directions shown. Apart from this these routes and buildings should be under twenty-four hours surveillance to monitor intruders and strangers. Equally important is the lighting system, which should be checked to ensure that criminals do not take advantage of the dark alleys. If all this is taken into account then there is high possibility of enhancing school safety. In this sense there is also need to consider the orderliness of the school by taking measures to ensure this. Taking measures in considering the referrals the school gets and the reasons enhances orderliness of a school. Also the orderliness of a school is reflected by the number of suspensions both in-school and out of school and the performance index of the school. It is inevitable to consider the orderliness of a school because it has one to one relationship with the safety of the school. The more orderly the school is the more safety it tend to be and the vice versa is correct. A caring school also does a lot of good in enhancing its own safety. Schools, which care, are characterized by taking caution of the rate of and reasons for absenteeism in the school. A caring school should consider their staffs turn over-we have had of cases where the students have been incited by their teachers to do crimes for example going on strikes. This can be so when the teachers are against some of the management policies. It is therefore important for schools to care for the se issues and also the rate of students’ transfer. It is when the management put their efforts to enhance the discussed issues that the school safety is realized in the long run. To evaluate a school’s safety assessment, safety concerns of members of the school community should be done through surveys, for example. The information gathered from the survey ought to be used in the creation of the safe school plan so that safety concerns can be addressed. Continuous measurement of safety concerns need to take place so that actions can be adjusted to address concerns. On the hand to evaluate orderliness of a school, assessments of reasons of disorder need to occur. From these assessments, a code of conduct reflecting behavioral expectations can be established as part of the safe school plan. Review of the reasons for disorder should help establish the code of conduct. Adjustments to the code should be made based upon continuous review of the school orderliness. This in essence, the use of the available data will enable the concerned parties to enhance school safety. School Safety Data in the Evaluation of Programs Data is vital in evaluation of the programs that reduce insecurity in school. Data from Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2005 shows that, 17 percent of students in grade 9-12 reported they carried a weapon anywhere and six percent reported they had carried a weapon in school. Though the data show that this is a decline from the previous year, it is still shocking and calls for collective responsibility to all stake holders. The data collected in this report also identified other indicators of unsafe school like drugs availability in school and violent incidents at school. The data found in the Indicator reports for the five consecutive years has been used or integrated in the safety programs for the purpose of enhancing school safety. The data equally highlights reported of other actions which are frequently neglected but have a direct impact to the eventual safety of the school like use of hate-related words. Safety school data collected reported incidents what could be classified or determined if a school is safe or not. The data ranges from possession of weapon, sex offences, use of alcohol and drugs, vandalism, burglary among others. The safety of schools in this case is determined by the rates of transfers, suspensions and expulsions. The data shows that there are no incidents of unsafe schools in this state. All the stakeholders, the teachers, school administration, the community and the state can attribute this to the measures that have been taken. The data used reflected the percentages of students who smoked cigarettes and marijuana in a period of six months. This was considered alongside the strategies for prevention and creating a safe school. The effects of mental health from the use of drugs are equally indispensable. Another source of data was the community. The communities that care survey of student levels of risk and protective factors were also considered. The data used was from survey carried out about students from grade 6-12. The data from the Kansas department of Education was used. The set data includes information regarding the numbers of felonies, expulsions, suspensions, misdemeanors and violent acts on school grounds for various schools. This data was from the year 2000 to 2004. School years were included in this database in order to establish a baseline by which to compare data from the school years in which the safe school initiative will be implemented. Conclusion The issue of safe schools is an issue that should be taken with a lot of seriousness bearing in mind the number of criminal related incidents that occur in the school. It is the obligation of all the stakeholders to ensure that they work towards the betterment of school environment in terms of surveillance- it should be a collective responsibility. Educators should consider physical safety as well as intellectual and emotional safety. To promote truly safe schools, educators must understand the culture of all their students and the communities they serve, and help all the students understand and respect the culture and the climate of the schools they attend. On the other hand, the state and the educational authorities have to come up with policies that the school safety is enhanced. Thorough scrutinisation of these policies will at least ensure that the school and the community do not neglect their roles in enhancing safety in schools. References Aspy, C. (2004) Adolescent violence: The protective effects of youth assets. Journal of counseling and development, 286-277 Hernandez, T (2004) A safe school climate: A systematic approach and the school counselor. Professional school counseling 7 (4): 256-62. Stevick, E. (2003). From noncompliance to Columbine: Capturing student perspectives to Understand Non- compliance and Violence in Public Schools. Urban Review 35 (4) 323-49 Vail K. (2004) Troubling rise in school violence. American School Board Journal 191(1): 9-10 Wilson, R. (1991) Violence Prevention for Young Adolescents: A Survey of the State of Art. New York: Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development. Witt, P. (1996) Public Recreation in High Risk Environments: Programs that Work. Arlington, AV: National Recreation Park.

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