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As gun incidents grow, schools have beefed up security significantly in recent years

K-12 Schools

As gun incidents grow, schools have beefed up security significantly in recent years

Two-thirds control access to campuses, not just buildings.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | January 25, 2023
As gun incidents grow, schools have beefed up security significantly in recent years Photo by  Kindel Media via Pexels
Photo by Kindel Media via Pexels

Recently released federal data shows that U.S. schools have significantly raised security measures in recent years.

About two-thirds of public schools now control access to school grounds—not just the building—up from about half in the 2017-18 school year. Some 43% of schools have a “panic button” or silent alarm that connects directly with police in case of emergency, up from 29% five years ago.

A strong majority, 78%, outfit classrooms with locks, up from 65% a few years ago. Random metal detector use was reported in 9% of schools, with 6% using this equipment daily. Many schools have campus police, but just 3% arm teachers or other non-security employees.

Last year, more than 330 people were fatally shot or wounded on school grounds, up from 218 in 2018, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database, a research project that tracks incidents of a gun being fired or brandished on school property.

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K-12 Schools

Average age of U.S. school buildings is just under 50 years

The average age of a main instructional school building in the United States is 49 years, according to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). About 38% of schools were built before 1970. Roughly half of the schools surveyed have undergone a major building renovation or addition.




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K-12 school sector experts are seeing “healthiness” for schools expand beyond air quality or the ease of cleaning interior surfaces. In this post-Covid era, “healthy” and “wellness” are intersecting expectations that, for many school districts, encompass the physical and mental wellbeing of students and teachers, greater access to outdoor spaces for play and learning, and the school’s connection to its community as a hub and resource.

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