How is it defined?
School safety is essential to maintaining productive academic programs (Cornell & Mayer, 2010). Safe schools help establish fair and supportive learning environments that allow students to develop to their full potential (Morrison, Furlong, & Morrison, 1994). Schools are safer when school staff, students, parents and community agencies work together to prevent bullying and exclusion. Effective school safety programs involve clear schoolwide guidelines, involvement from students, parents, and teachers, and increased monitoring in non-classroom areas (Astor, Meyer, Benbenishty, Marachi, & Rosemond, 2005).
The Learning Bar’s Parent Survey is based on a framework developed by Joyce Epstein designed to foster positive relations between school and community (Epstein et al., 2002). The survey covers parents’ perceptions of their children’s experiences at home and school, as well as the extent to which parents feel the school supports learning and positive behaviour and promotes a safe and inclusive environment.
Why is it important?
- Student perceptions of feeling unsafe are predictive of negative student outcomes (Bowen & Bowen, 1999).
- Perceptions of neighborhood safety can predict the likelihood of students commuting to school by walking or cycling (Panter, Jones, Van Sluijs, & Griffin, 2010).
- School staff must be able to recognise different forms of bullying and be willing to step in when they observe a student being bullied (Pepler, Craig, Ziegler, & Charach 1994).
How do we measure it?
In OurSCHOOL, parents respond to five items on a five-point scale which is scored as follows: 0 (Strongly Disagree), 1 (Disagree), 2 (Neither Agree nor Disagree), 3 (Agree), and 4 (Strongly Agree). The data are scaled on a 10-point scale and the results are reported as ‘the average score for safe school’.
Astor, R. A., Meyer, H. A., Benbenishty, R., Marachi, R., & Rosemond, M. (2005). School safety interventions: Best practices and programs. Children & Schools, 27(1), 17-32.
Bowen, N. K., & Bowen, G. L. (1999). Effects of crime and violence in neighbourhoods and schools on the school behavior and performance of adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 14(3), 319-342.
Cornell, D. G., & Mayer, M. J. (2010). Why do school order and safety matter? Educational Researcher, 39(1), 7-15.
Epstein, J. L., Sanders, M. G., Simon, B. S., Salinas, K. C., Jansorn, N. R., & Van Voorhis, F. L. (2002). School, family, and community partnerships: Your handbook for action (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Morrison G.M., Furlong M. J., & Morrison R. L. (1994). School violence to school safety: Reframing the issue for school psychologists. School Psychology Review, 23(2), 236-256.
Panter, J. R., Jones, A. P., Van Sluijs, E. M., & Griffin, S. J. (2010). Attitudes, social support and environmental perceptions as predictors of active commuting behaviour in school children. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 64(1), 41-48.
Pepler, Craig, Ziegler, & Charach (1994). An evaluation of an anti-bullying intervention in Toronto schools. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 13(2), 95-110.