Overview

The School Safety and Prevention (SS&P) unit provides resources for safe and supportive learning environments, specifically funding, training, and technical assistance to districts and charter schools for the implementation of evidence-based strategies that prevent violent behavior, substance use, and pregnancy; for the promotion of social/emotional development; and for the creation of safe environments.  The unit is also responsible for grant oversight and data collection related to safety indicators for Arizona students.

Mission

The mission of School Safety and Prevention is to provide leadership and resources that promote positive youth development and school safety and thereby enhance the academic achievement of Arizona youth.

Vision

All Arizona schools and communities understand the link between school safety, positive youth development, and academic success and demonstrate their commitment to implementing comprehensive, model approaches that promote student health, well being, and success in life. 

What You Should Know

Research supports the relationship between risk behaviors, conditions on campus, and academic performance.

  • A substantial body of evidence demonstrates that school violence and disorder interfere with normal psychosocial development and academic learning.
    • Students who feel safe at school perform better academically than students that do not feel safe.
    • The use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs is closely related to reduced attention span, lower investment in homework, negative attitudes toward school, lower motivation, and increased absenteeism.
    • Students who are threatened with violence on school grounds have lower academic achievement scores than students that have not been threatened with violence.
    • Kids who feel connected to school are less likely to be involved in risky health behaviors: drug use, cigarette smoking, early sex, violence, and suicidal thoughts and attempts.
    • Considerable overlap exists among the risk factors that predispose youth to substance abuse, violence, teen pregnancy, and school failure.  The same is true for protective factors that buffer them against negative like outcomes.
    • Teen mothers are more likely to drop out of high school than girls who delay childbearing…

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis of 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) results show a negative association between alcohol/substance use, violent behaviors and sexual risk behaviors and academic achievement among high school students after controlling for sex, race/ethnicity, and grade level.  Correspondingly, an analysis of 2009 Arizona YRBS data shows students who reported any of the following behaviors were more likely to have lower grades: current alcohol use; being in a fight on school property; missing school because they felt unsafe; and being a victim or aggressor of electronic bulling.  The more frequently a student reported being bullied or harassed at school, the more likely they were to report lower grades.

Education goals also recognize the need to address school environment and safety:

Standard 4 of the ADE Standards and Rubrics for School Improvement requires schools to function as effective learning communities that support a climate conducive to student achievement.

Goal 4 of the NCLB requires that all students are educated in learning environments that are safe, drug-free and conducive to learning.