School Security Fact Sheet

K-12 School Infrastructure

  • There are about 100,000 U.S. K-12 public schools serving 50 million students and 6 million teachers/staff.
  • K-12 public schools occupy over 2 million acres of land, in 7.5 billion square feet of space.
  • The average age of the main instructional building is 44 years.
  • School infrastructure is generally considered the responsibility of local and state government. The federal government hasn’t made an investment in school infrastructure since the Eisenhower administration (1950s).

Violence in K-12 Schools

  • In 2013-2014 school year, 65% of all schools reported violence on campus.
  • Intruders committed 94% of all mass incidents in elementary schools and 35% in secondary schools.
  • According to Sandy Hook Commission, “there has never been an event in which an active shooter breached a locked classroom door.” That remains the case.
  • Locked doors saved lives at Columbine, Rancho Tehama and Stoneman Douglas.

States on School Security (as of 2/14/18)

  • 10 states give grants specifically for school security improvements.
  • 15 states have set standards for school security improvements.
  • 25 states have school safety centers focused on security, while a handful have offices within their education departments.
  • 48 states require individual school emergency plans and the training of staff and students on those plans.
  • Only 4 states are doing all of the above.

Needed Action

  • We need to create a comprehensive federal strategy for improving school security.
    • National guidelines or best practices for school safety and security policies, procedures, technology and infrastructure.
    • A national center of excellence for school safety and security that serves as a repository of those best practices and ongoing violence prevention research efforts.
    • A national board that draws experts from across the country to investigate and learn from school tragedies.
    • An independent association that can consolidate and set school safety codes for the industry.
  • States need to establish school security standards that comply with federal laws and are compliant with building and life safety codes.
  • States need to have offices or safety centers dedicated to improving school security.
  • States must make grants to schools to help local communities.
  • Every facility is different and needs to be assessed by qualified law enforcement or critical infrastructure professional.
  • Every school should be given financial help in meeting deficiencies under the standards that are identified by their assessments.
  • Every school needs an emergency plan.
  • Every student, teacher and staff member should be trained with local first responders on what to do under those plans.

View the PDF of the Secure Schools Alliance School Security Fact Sheet.