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Unformatted text preview: VIOLENCE AND SECURITY ON CAMPUS VIOLENCE AND SECURITY ON CAMPUS FROM PRESCHOOL THROUGH COLLEGE James Alan Fox and Harvey Burstein In memory of the far too many innocent lives senselessly lost as the result of campus violence. CONTENTS List of Tables and Figures ix Preface xiii 1. Violence in Primary and Secondary Schools 1 2. Onto College 29 3. Blaming and Scapegoating 45 4. Risk Factors, Warning Signs, and Prediction 65 5. A Major News Media Event 83 6. Hype, Fear, and Over-Response 97 7. Security in Elementary Schools 113 8. Security in Secondary Schools 133 9. Security in Colleges and Universities 159 10. The School Workforce 185 Afterword 199 Notes 201 Appendix A: Major Episodes of School/Campus Homicide 215 Appendix B: Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 221 Appendix C: Bullying Prevention Programs 227 Appendix D: The Clery Act 233 Appendix E: School Security Design, Technology, and Operation 241 Appendix F: Student Privacy Rights 245 Appendix G: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act 255 Appendix H: Higher Education Act of 2008 263 Index 267 LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES TABLES Table 1.1: Five years of multiple-victim school shootings 2 Table 1.2: School-related homicide trends, 1992/93-2007/08 4 Table 1.3: Cause of death by age group, 1999-2005 6 Table 1.4: Historical counts of incidents of school violence in the U.S. and abroad,1960-2007 8 Table 1.5: Percentage of teachers reporting having been threatened or physically attacked 11 Table 1.6: Percentage of students who were threatened, felt unsafe, and brought a weapon 15 Table 1.7: Prevalence of bullying victimization and offending by school level and sex 22 Table 1.8: Prevalence of cyberbullying victimization and offending 25 Table 2.1: Patterns of college campus homicide in the U.S., 2001-05 32 Table 2.2: Shootings involving multiple fatalities on college campuses in the U.S., 1990-2008 34 Table 2.3: Violent crime rates at colleges and universities, 2006 and 2007 37 Table 2.4: Rape victimization of female college students 43 Table 4.1: Typology of risk and protective factors 67 Table 4.2: Effect of low base rate on false positives 68 Table 6.1: Percentage of schools with zero tolerance policies, 1996-97 108 Table 7.1: Violence, discipline problems, and security measures by school level, 2005- 06 115 Table 7.2: Modes of transportation to and from school 116 Table 7.3: Fatalities and injuries involving school bus accidents, 1991-99 118 Table 8.1: Percentage of students ages 12-18 reporting various school security measures 136 Table 8.2: Serious disciplinary actions by schools, 2005-06 153 Table 8.3: Tasks performed by School Resource Officers 156 Table 9.1: Use of mass notification systems at college campuses 182 FIGURES Figure 1.1: Rates of serious violent offenses at school and away from school 9 Figure 1.2: Rates of violent offenses at school and away from school 10 Figure 1.3: Expulsions for firearm possession under GFSA 12 Figure 1.4: Percentage of high school students carrying a weapon at school 12 Figure 1.5: Students threatened or injured by a weapon in past 12 months 13 Figure 1.6: Students who were threatened, felt unsafe, and had a weapon in school 15 Figure 1.7: Path model of being threatened, feeling unsafe, and weapon possession 17 Figure 1.8: Prevalence of bullying victimization by school type 23 Figure 1.9: Prevalence of bullying victimization by gender 23 Figure 3.1: Perceived leading causes influencing school shooters 47 Figure 3.2: Public opinion of preferred level of restrictions on firearms sales 60 Figure 3.3: Cutting Edge Ministries' map of school shootings during the Clinton administration 63 Figure 4.1: FBI Offender Profile 72 Figure 4.2: The Virginia Threat Assessment Model 77 Figure 5.1: Daily number of school violence threats in Pennsylvania after Columbine 89 Figure 6.1: Percentage of parents fearful for oldest child's safety while at school 98 Figure 6.2: Perceived likelihood of school shooting in own community 99 Figure 6.3: Perceived fairness of school discipline by race/ethnicity 111 Figure 8.1: Percentage of students ages 12-18 reporting gang presence at school 145 Figure 8.2: Contraband search procedures by school level 151 Figure 9.1: Percentage of students with various security measures in dorms 168 Figure 9.2: Average campus police staffing levels by school size and type 170 Figure 9.3: Trends in armed campus police officers in the United States 174 Figure 9.4: Campus-wide security responses of colleges and universities 180 PREFACE For millions of Americans, the notion of terrorism invokes frightful images of hijacked airliners crashing into the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center and suicide bombers wreaking devastation on countless innocents for political leverage. However, years before the identities of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda became widely recognized, another form of terror-based not on religious fundamentalism but on adolescent rage-had surfaced in onceobscure places like Moses Lake, Washington; Pearl, Mississippi; and Jonesboro, Arkansas. And the word "Columbine," once reflecting the colorful beauty of the Colorado state flower, became linked to the horror of children being gunned down in the halls of their school. Adding to the irony, the diary of one of the young shooters from Columbine High described a fantasy about following up the massacre by flying an airplane into the skyline of New York; of course, the journal entry was made years before the Twin Towers collapsed. It may seem a stretch to characterize school shootings as a form of terrorism. Yet, the issues of international terror and schoolyard terror are remarkably similar. Prompted by a string of school massacres in the late 1990s, school administrators were eager to profile dangerous students, just as airport security officials strived to identify violent extremists among those who boarded commercial airplanes. While the U.S. Congress voted to permit airline pilots to carry weapons in the cockpit to guard against a possible in-air takeover, state legislators around the country debated the wisdom of arming school teachers. Moreover, the fine balance between privacy and security that troubles many Americans with regard to the ongoing "War on Terror" has been a thorny matter as well at educational institutions of all levels, from elementary schools to colleges. As widespread fear and apprehension over the safety of students pushed school security onto the national agenda, the body of research and scholarship on the topic of school violence and its prevention grew dramatically. Although at one time the theme would have seemed far too narrow, in 2002 the journal of School Violence, an interdisciplinary quarterly on theory, research, and practice focused only on violence and disorder in schools, released its inaugural issue. In addition, over 80 percent of the peer-reviewed journal publications uncovered from searching for "school violence" in the Social Science Abstracts dating back to the mid-1970s were published between 2000 and 2008. The growth in interest and concern has also been reflected outside of the academic literature. A cottage industry has developed for school security hardware, technology, guidebooks, and consulting. In collaborating on this book, we sought to blend our divergent yet complementary perspectives. One of us has brought to the partnership an extensive background in social science research, scholarship, and consulting related to youth and school violence, including participation on several national advisory panels devoted to the issue. The other of us has expertise honed from decades of executive employment in federal law enforcement and corporate/ campus security, consulting with companies and organizations worldwide, and teaching and writing in the area of security management and law. Our objective was to approach the complex topic of school violence, safety, and security by integrating criminological theory and research with security policy and practice. In the first part of the book, we attempt to distinguish hard facts from hyped fictions. We detail the nature, patterns, and trends of school violence; assess some of the common myths and misconceptions about violence, bullying, and other school safety perils; discuss an array of factors associated-or at least believed to be associated-with violent offending at school; and critically address the nexus between school crime and media coverage. In the next portion of the book, we review and discuss for each level of schooling (preschool through college) the specific security concerns and best practices for protecting students and staff, as well as buildings and other school property. Importantly, the concern-sometimes bordering on obsession-over the problem of school violence has, at times, caused school administrators and security officials to overlook other issues that relate to protecting school assets. In addition, dealing effectively with the wide range of school security risks includes many routine but no less significant management issues. We emphasize, therefore, the importance of school personnel mattersrecruitment, training, supervision, retention, and termination-all of which impact on school security. Finally, several appendices provide background and reference material, including a detailed list of major episodes of school violence, best-practice approaches for bullying prevention and security technology, and key prescriptive documents arising from legislative and judicial acts. Finally, we are grateful to several individuals for their support, encouragement, and assistance. Above all, Jenna Savage provided skillful suggestions in terms of both substance and style. Several Northeastern University graduate students-Sarah Rustan, David Hutchinson, Amanda Reich, and Aviva RichShea-helped us in assembling sources of data and research. Also providing valuable direction and insight were: Beth Cooney, Director of University Administration Human Resources at Harvard University; Professor Dewey G. Cornell of the University of Virginia; Peter Langman, Clinical Director of KidsPeace; Dianne Layden, former professor at University of Redlands; Professor Jack Levin of Northeastern University; Jon Oliver, President of the Lesson One Company; Dan O'Neill of Applied Risk Management, Inc.; Katherine N. Pendergast, Vice President of Human Resources Management at Northeastern University; Professor Kenna Quinet of Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis; and Amanda Warman, Director of Public Safety at Keene State College. Finally, we appreciate the confidence of the editorial staff at ABCCLIO Publishers for the opportunity to contribute this text. James Alan Fox Harvey Burstein 1 VIOLENCE IN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS Previous to the events of September 11, 2001, when two hijacked commercial jets were deliberately crashed into the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center and America was drawn into a "war on terror," the nation had already been engaged in a very different kind of war against a very different form of terrorism. For the five years leading up to that contemporary date of infamy, the country had been shocked by murderous rampages perpetrated by mere youngsters. Schools everywhere, in big cities and the rural hinterlands, were reacting-and sometimes overreacting-to the potential for open warfare in the halls and classrooms of learning. As listed in Table 1.1, between February 1996 and March 2001, eight multiple-victim school shootings perpetrated by middle or high school students in America claimed over three dozen lives, including a pair of gunmen who committed suicide as police arrived (see also Appendix A). Although the table lists only those episodes that took place in the United States, similar events occurred in distant lands-from Scotland to Yemen, from Germany to Argentina. Within the United States, specifically, the fear provoked by school shootings was so intense and the media coverage so widespread that the word "epidemic" was often used to characterize the crisis of school violence, at least until the events of September 11th drew our attention elsewhere. SCHOOL-RELATED HOMICIDES In March 2001, following yet another multiple-victim shooting-this time at Santana High School, just outside of San Diego, California-the venerable Dan Rather, one of the nation's best-known and well-respected TV journalists, had declared school shootings to be an epidemic.' While calling the spate of school shootings an "epidemic" may have been more hyperbole than reality, there is little question that the level of fear and anxiety over school safety was spreading wide and fast. With impressions heavily impacted by tragedies at Columbine High School and elsewhere, there was pervasive concern among school officials and parents of school-age children that school violence was definitely on the rise. Table 1.1 Five years of multiple-victim school shootings Note: Columbine High School is actually situated in an unincorporated area of Jefferson County, just outside of Littleton, CO, and has a Littleton postal address. Notwithstanding the unmitigated horror and outrage associated with the succession of high-profile schoolyard massacres over the five-year time span from Moses Lake to Santee, schools were, in reality, not only safe relative to other settings in which children typically spend their time, but growing safer -and not necessarily because of steps that were being taken to fortify them. Unfortunately, no "official" (i.e., "known to the police") national data series for school crime exists. However, there are available several sources of data pertaining to school violence, based either on student/staff surveys or news media reports, all of which vary with regard to their coverage, completeness, and accuracy. Arguably the most accurate data available come from incident reports of school-associated violent deaths maintained by the National School Safety Center (NSSC) in Westlake, California-a private organization launched in 1984 initially through federal funding directed by President Ronald Reagan. The data accuracy stems from the fact that school homicides, given their severity, are presumably always reported in some media outlet somewhere. Table 1.2 displays annual counts for several measures of school-related homicides (perpetrated by students or nonstudents), extracted from the NSSC documents. In addition to these measures, the rate of homicide victimization per million students is calculated based on annual public and private school enrollment figures. Notwithstanding the news saturation during the five-year span in which several school mass shootings occurred, the number of incidents and the number of victims-both overall and students only-were appreciably larger in the early 1990s, when concerns about school violence were not as center-stage in public discourse. As one measure of attention, The New York Times, widely considered the newspaper of record, published 268 articles with the key phrase "school violence" between 1990 and 1994, compared to as many as 684 in the years 1995 to 1999. Part of the reason for the disconnect between incidence and awareness involves the changing nature of the offenses. Many of the homicides near the beginning of the 1990s reflected gang activity, interpersonal disputes, and arguments-violence unrelated to school issues spilling onto school grounds. There was certainly no lack of awareness regarding the youth crime problem in the early 1990s or alarm associated with the notion of young "superpreda- tors" terrorizing the streets of urban America, but this problem was not particularly related to schools. Although some of the urban violence was occurring at school, the source of the conflict was located elsewhere. The widely publicized episodes of school violence that marked the late 1990s contrasted with the sharply declining homicide rate that America had been enjoying for most of the decade. However, the more significant change in the pattern of schoolrelated lethal violence between the early and late 1990s was the emergence of mass shootings and multiple-victim homicides. Statistical Trends Among other things, the trend data contained in Table 1.2 highlight the distinction between incidence and victim count. In the early 1990s, a point in time when the school homicide count was at its peak, the victim and incident counts were nearly identical, that is, one victim per incident. By contrast, from the 1995/1996 through 2000/2001 school years, the homicide victim tally outpaced the number of incidents. Thus, whereas the homicide incidents in the early 1990s were almost exclusively single-victim episodes, the late 1990s witnessed a significant number of multiple-victim shootings. Table 1.2 School-related homicide trends, 1992/93-2007/08 Source: Adapted from National School Safety Center, "School Associated Violent Deaths." Single-victim episodes, which were more abundant in the early 1990s, tend only to be noticed in the local area owing to the limited scope of news coverage and community distress. These homicides receive little, if any, attention from the press. By contrast, multiple-victim murders are reported nationally: the more victims, the more expansive the coverage. Thus, it wasn't until school shootings became worthy of the news spotlight coast to coast that the issue moved to the top of the national agenda. The last column of Table 1.2 provides the level of risk (i.e., the victimization rate per million students) and shows how it has changed over the 15-year time span from 1993 to 2008. Notwithstanding the considerable fluctuation-which is to be expected of calculations based on small numbers of cases-the rate of homicide victimization during the school-violence panic of the late 1990s was half the comparable rate during the early part of the decade. Overall, a rate of 0.31 per million (or about 1 homicide for every 3 million students) is on par with or lower than that of a wide range of perils that children face on a daily basis but that do not inspire nearly as much attention and anxiety. To place the risk of school homicide in some perspective, Table 1.3 compares the number of school-related homicide victims for the years 1999 to 2005 with causespecific mortality figures drawn from coroner reports compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).3 As the top portion of the table confirms, the number of children slain at or near school (a total of 89 victims over the seven-year time frame) is akin to that of other rare occurrences such as deaths from storm/lightning (105 cases) or animal bites (79 cases). Moreover, the risk of school homicide is substantially lower than that of accidental deaths due to careless handling of guns or of drowning in swimming pools. At the extreme, children are killed while on a bicycle 12 times more often than murdered while attending school. Yet, rather than ensuring that their children wear a helmet when bicycling around the neighborhood, many parents worry more deeply about the safety of their children when they are at school and demand tighter security measures to protect them. Government seems to be complicit in the relative neglect, as the major4 ity of states do not require the use of helmets for children or adults. Another useful contrast is between the incidence of school-related homicides versus those that occur away from school-at home, at the mall, or in the neighborhood. As shown in the bottom panel of Table 1.3, less than 1 percent of all youth homicides during the years 1999 to 2005 occurred in the school setting. At the peak level by age group-10- to 14-year-olds-only about 1.4 percent of homicides were school-related. In addition, the number of children murdered by family members over the 1999 to 2005 time frame (1,285, based on FBI data) is 15 times larger than the number killed by classmates or others at school. Of c...
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