A new report provides a detailed view of safety at Chicago Public Schools. University of Chicago researchers wanted to know what contributes to a student or teacher’s sense of safety in the school.
According to the report, nearly half of teachers in grades K - 8 reported significant problems related to disorder in the classrooms and hallways, physical student conflicts and student disrespect of teachers. More than 60 percent of high school teachers reported the same, but with the addition of gang activity.
The report also found that students and teachers feel much safer in some Chicago Public Schools than others, and the best predictor of whether students and teachers feel safe is the quality of relationships inside the school building. The report, Student and Teacher Safety in Chicago Public Schools, found that schools serving students from high-crime, high-poverty areas tended to feel less safe; however, demographics were not deterministic of safety. In fact, disadvantaged schools with high-quality relationships actually felt safer than advantaged schools with low-quality relationships.
The report concludes that district officials should concentrate resources on schools with low academic achievement - not necessary in the poorest neighborhoods. In addition, CPS students feel safe inside the classroom, but feel immediately unsafe outside of the school building. School administrators should better monitor areas lacking adult supervision, particularly in areas just outside the school building.