Security leaders are starting to move on from COVID-related safety measures and are instead focusing on mental health and violence on campus, according to the 2022 2022 Crisis Communication and Safety in Education Survey, conducted by research firm Researchscape and Rave Mobile Safety, a provider of critical communication.
While security leaders were heavily focused on mitigating safety and security challenges brought on by the pandemic, campus safety leaders are now concerned about post-COVID effects, particularly how it will impact school communities in the future, especially if the proper safety and security resources, tools, and procedures are not put in place.
The report found several trends among K-12 school and higher education security leaders:
4 trends in K-12 schools:
- Mental health: The pandemic brought on periods of isolation and stress to students everywhere, bringing mental health concerns to the forefront of challenges for K-12 schools. According to the survey, two of the top three safety concerns for respondents are student (61%) and faculty/staff (52%) mental health. Anxiety around potential situations involving an active assailant saw a rise (+14%), as did cyberbullying (+12%).
- Budgets: Unsurprisingly, investing more in mental health resources (43%) emerged as the top intervention for next year – an 8% increase when compared to last year’s report. Currently, 50% of schools believe they have adequate mental health resources to support students.
- Violence: One area of concern that grew this year was the potential for future violent situations on campuses. More than half of respondents (55%) are more concerned about active assailants and violence on campus than they were before the pandemic. Social media is also complicating matters, as many respondents are following how recent waves of threats on TikTok and similar platforms affect schools. Nearly 80% of respondents acknowledged that these occurrences have contributed to their concern for campus safety.
- Critical communications: While these threats remain top of mind, many K-12 respondents acknowledged that they struggled to communicate effectively with all key parties. These challenges include issues reaching and notifying students and/or parents/guardians (26%) and issues reaching and notifying staff (23%).
4 trends in higher education:
- COVID & Mental health: More so than K-12 schools, institutions of higher education still list COVID-19-related safety measures as the top concern for next year (71%), followed by student mental health (59%) and faculty/staff mental health (44%). Additionally, concerns over crime increased by 20% year-over-year, and concerns over active assailants increased by 15%, likely related to the anticipated uptick in mental health needs next year.
- Budgets: To address leading safety concerns, higher education institutions are investing further in COVID-19-related safety resources (45%) and mental health resources (39%). They also providing greater access to health and wellness services (38%) while ramping down certain activities, such as daily health checks for students.
- Violence: Nearly half of respondents (46%) are more concerned about active assailants and violent acts than they were before the beginning of the pandemic. As with K-12 schools, social media again increased anxiety about this kind of violence on campus amongst respondents. Threats on social media platforms have contributed meaningfully to how survey respondents (69%) think about campus safety.
- Crisis communications: Respondents in higher education experienced fewer crisis communication challenges than their K-12 counterparts. However, 16% still have difficulty reaching staff, and 15% struggle to reach students, parents and/or guardians amid crises.
For the full report, please visit ravemobilesafety.com.