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UNC Faculty Member Helped Develop 2018 School Safety Guide for Colorado Attorney General

UNC Faculty Member Helped Develop 2018 School Safety Guide for Colorado Attorney General

December 18, 2018

Researchers Sarah Goodrum and William Woodward prepared the 2018 guide for the Colorado Attorney General’s Office that uses lessons learned from past events and research on effective programs to promote best practices for school safety.

To compile the guide, Goodrum, a University of Northern Colorado associate professor and chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and her colleague Woodward, the director of Training and Technical Assistance at the University of Colorado Boulder's Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV), collaborated with school safety stakeholders from across Colorado and the Attorney General’s Office of Community Engagement.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office funded this work by awarding a grant of $48,480 to both UNC and CU’s CSPV to provide a more updated and rounded guide for schools. The AG’s last school safety guide was published in 2009, and since then, our knowledge of and the laws on school safety have changed significantly.

The 2018 guide describes five key components of school safety planning:

  1. Prevention and Assessment
  2. Protection
  3. Mitigation
  4. Response
  5. Recovery

In the Prevention and Assessment section, the guide rates each program on a confidence continuum with scores range from one to five. Programs with a score of five represent highly effective, evidence-based programs.

The hope is that school officials will rely on high-quality evidence-based programs to prevent violence and promote safety, but such programs are not always available for all social problems and safety concerns.

The guide also lists of the top 10 recommendations for foundational school safety, such as completing a school safety audit to evaluate security and safety, assessing the school’s emotional climate, training staff on the indicators of violence, and using Safe2Tell to anonymously report safety concerns.

Goodrum said, “Our hope is that the updated guide will provide straight-forward recommendations and tools on how school officials might enhance the important safety-related work they’re already doing.”

In 2016, Goodrum and Woodward published a report on the 2013 Arapahoe High School shooting that provided insight on opportunities for violence prevention including sharing information, conducting threat assessment and building a positive school climate. Watch a video and listen to a podcast where Goodrum goes into more details about this report.

The 2018 Colorado School Safety Guide was released to the public on Tuesday, Dec. 18, and can be found on the Colorado Attorney General’s website.

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