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Addressing High Rates of School Violence in Ohio

Michael Nutter

January 22, 2020

Ohio has some of the highest rates of school violence in the country. Here’s how educators can take immediate action to keep their schools safe.

To provide a healthy environment in which students can grow and thrive, schools must be free of violence and crime. Unfortunately, school violence continues to affect children around the country.

A 2018 report from the United Nations Children’s Fund found that nearly 50 percent of students in the U.S. aged 13 to 15 have experienced school violence perpetrated by their peers. In 2017, roughly 20 percent of students aged 12 to 18 reported being bullied at school. And during the 2015-2016 school year, the National Center for Education Statistics found that 79 percent of public schools reported one or more incidents of violence, theft, or other crime, amounting to a total of 1.4 million crimes in American public schools.

The Impact of School Violence

Beyond the obvious safety issues it presents, school violence can have a direct and significant impact on students’ mental health and their ability to learn. According to a 2019 study, the psychological effects of school violence can inhibit students’ ability to acquire core academic skills. Such violence can also make both children and adolescents scared to go to school, interfering with their ability to concentrate during class and take part in school activities. As a result, students might skip classes or even drop out of school altogether, harming academic performance and even future employment prospects.

Individual instances of school violence and crime are even more concerning when we consider that they not only directly affect those involved, but also have the potential to interrupt learning for an entire class or school. When schools fail to prevent school violence, they disrupt the educational experience at the most fundamental level. To improve educational outcomes, district and school administrators will have to take an active role in mitigating the reality of school violence.

Promoting School Safety in Ohio

There are few places in America that should be as concerned about school violence as Ohio. According to the Educator’s School Safety Network (ESSN), a national nonprofit group that studies school violence from elementary through high school, only one state has a higher risk for violent threats and incidents than Ohio. In fact, Ohio is one of the top ten states across all six categories of violence that ESSN tracks.

During the 2017-2018 school year, just ten states accounted for 51 percent of the incidents and threats of school violence in the U.S. Ohio was one of those ten states, logging 170 threats and 14 incidents of violence. During the previous school year, Ohio was the national leader for bomb threats against schools. ESSN Operations Director Amy Klinger believes that one of the reasons Ohio experiences so much school violence is because the state’s schools are insufficiently prepared to deal with violence.

In response to the August 2019 Dayton school shooting — and Ohio’s status as one of the states with the highest rates of school violence — Ohio lawmakers have started to take steps to promote school safety. While still working its way through the legislature, House Bill 123 would mandate the establishment of school safety programs as well as help create anonymous reporting systems, school threat assessment teams, and suicide prevention education. These programs would be offered free of charge at schools across Ohio, and would aim to reduce incidents of school shootings and suicide.

Taking Action at the Local Level

Recent progress at the state level notwithstanding, there are still steps that individual schools and districts in Ohio should take to more immediately address school violence in an impactful way. To make the biggest difference, administrators must take proactive action against school violence rather than simply reacting after incidents occur.

Vinson’s Security as a Service offering is designed to help schools stay ahead of violent incidents and threats. Our customizable, 360-degree security systems can help give your students, parents, and faculty peace of mind. We offer the most advanced high-definition cameras, infrastructure, monitoring, and backup platforms on the market to keep your schools safe.

Not only do our security specialists train your team to use our technology, but we are also here to help you navigate the process of getting funding from the state to cover implementation costs. With our help, schools in Ohio can take control of their own safety. Reach out today to learn more.

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