For the first time in our 15-year history, Speak Up includes a detailed set of questions on this year’s parent and administrator surveys about the physical safety and mental health supports in schools today. We have asked about online safety and data privacy for years, but given the focus of school leaders on what additional safety measures they should take to protect students and teachers, we have expanded that set of questions.
This year, Speak Up includes questions about:
- levels of concerns relative to physical safety and protections, mental health supports and online safety for students at school
- the safety and security protections and practices in place to create a safe learning environment for all children
- levels of support for many of the physical protections or practices that are being discussed, including auto door locks triggered by a campus emergency, lock down drills, emergency notification system, metal detectors, fencing, rules about backpacks, school resource officers, school staff have weapons on campus, staff and student ID badges and more
- levels of support for many of the mental and online safety precautions being discussed, including monitoring of students’ online activities and social media accounts, Internet filters and firewalls, student safe school ambassadors, tip lines to report concerns, training for teachers how to identify students with mental or emotional concerns and more
To create these new survey questions, we reviewed many planning documents created by school districts and communities around the country over the past year including the initial report and recommendations released by the Broward County League of Cities’ School and Community Public Safety Task Force in June 2018. In addition, we spoke with scores of district leaders and our Speak Up Advisory Council members about what types of stakeholder feedback would be most helpful for school and district leaders to have to address these critical safety issues.
Our hope is that school districts will use this feedback from their staff and parents to help guide their ongoing efforts to protect their students from threats on campus. We also hope the national-level data will inform the public debate on these issues going forward.
School leaders can get started with Speak Up now. The free tool is available to use through January 31, 2019, with data delivered in February.