October 26, 2014
Final Reports
San Mateo Courts - Civil Grand Jury

PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL SAFETY PREPAREDNESS

Summary | Background | Findings | Recommendations | Responses
Summary:

The grand jury reviewed final reports published by past grand juries and found that information concerning school safety is not readily available to the public. Recent acts of violence on high school campuses have caused parents and school officials to question the sufficiency of existing safety programs. The grand jury developed a safety survey to assist school administrators in identifying safety issues that may jeopardize school safety.

The grand jury recommends that all San Mateo County public high schools devise and publish the results of a school violence and safety survey twice each school year, utilizing Exhibit 1 as a sample form. Each school district should ensure that schools in its jurisdiction comply.

Background:

The grand jury conducted a survey concerning the ability and preparedness of San Mateo County public high schools to respond to violence on campus. The survey inquired into safety programs implemented throughout the county that help protect over 26,000 students currently enrolled in public high schools. Information concerning safety preparedness at individual school sites is readily available. However, a countywide safety report card based on the questions that appear in Exhibit 1 has not been made available to the public. All 27 public high school administrators listed in the County Office of Education directory of public schools participated in the survey.

The grand jury distributed the same safety survey to the 31 middle and intermediate schools listed in the county directory. Middle and intermediate school responses are still being collected and evaluated.

 

Findings:

The grand jury finds that public high school administrators in San Mateo County believe that their schools provide safe environments for students enrolled in grades 9 through 12. Survey results (see Exhibit 1) indicated that 81% of public high schools in the county have completed a site-specific emergency action plan. Although nearly 90% of schools surveyed have completed in-service training for staff during the 2000-2001 academic year, only 60% have conducted a "lock-down" drill. Based on survey results, the grand jury finds that 70% of public high school administrators recorded threats made against staff or students during the current school year. Only one high school reported the confiscation of a firearm. Over half of the administrators surveyed reported that they have identified the need for the assignment of a police officer to their campuses on a part-time basis to help keep their schools safe. The public is encouraged to contact specific public high school sites or high school district administrative offices regarding inquiries into safety at individual high schools.

 

Recommendations:


Recommendation 4.12

All San Mateo County public high schools devise and publish the results of a school violence and safety survey twice each school year, utilizing Exhibit 1 as a sample form. Each school district should ensure that schools in its jurisdiction comply.

Recommendation 4.13

The 2001-2002 Grand Jury evaluate the results of the survey distributed to middle and intermediate schools.

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