In 2011, some 5 percent of high school students reported carrying weapons to school. Between the 2000-01 and 2010-11 school years, 468 deaths occurred at school, during school events or when the victim was traveling to or from school. Schools use many methods to protect students, staff and visitors, including controlling access to the school building and the use of security guards. Following the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., several states have also enacted legislation to formally regulate firearms in schools

During a national briefing call on June 3, Texas Sen. John Whitmire noted that, in his state, 84% of African American boys had received one or more suspensions in their educational career.  This was a startling wake-up call for policymakers and is now a priority as they work to create welcoming school cultures and effective learning conditions to keep students in the classroom.

A report released this week by The Council of State Governments Justice Center details more than 60 evidence-based recommendations on how states and communities can make their schools safer and help students succeed. "The School Discipline Consensus Report" is the result of a three-year effort involving a 100-member working group comprised of experts in the field of school safety, behavioral health, juvenile justice, social services, law enforcement and child welfare.

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, 2012, many state policymakers have asked critical questions about school safety and violence prevention. States convened task forces and debated various policy issues to keep students safe during the 2013 legislative sessions. This session focused on evidence-based public policy reform in mental health, education and emergency response as a way to address these critical issues. Agenda topics included mental health issues such as screening, early diagnosis and treatment, and violence prevention in schools.

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, 2012, many state policymakers have asked critical questions about school safety and violence prevention. States convened task forces and debated various policy issues to keep students safe during the 2013 legislative sessions. This session focused on evidence-based public policy reform in mental health, education and emergency response as a way to address these critical issues. Agenda topics included mental health issues such as screening, early diagnosis and treatment, and violence prevention in schools.

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut brought renewed attention to the issue of school safety.

The Connecticut legislature entered the 2013 session just three weeks after 20 students and six adults were killed at the Newtown, Conn., school.

“Here we are trying to respond to public demand without having the best of information,” said Connecticut Deputy Speaker Bob Godfrey at Friday’s session, “Policies to Achieve Safer Schools.”

The Safe2Tell Program, first created in 2004, is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization based on the Colorado Prevention Initiative for School Safety with initial funding from The Colorado Trust. The primary purpose of the Safe2Tell Program is to provide students and the community with the means to relay information anonymously concerning unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent, or criminal activities, or the threat of these activities, to appropriate law enforcement and public safety agencies and school officials.

This Act requires schools and charter schools to have a written medical emergency response plan to reduce the incidence of life-threatening emergencies and promote efficient responses to such emergencies.

As a former social studies teacher who spent seven years in the classroom, I was fortunate never to face an explosive situation. I was never threatened by a student or parent. I never witnessed a student fight that I wasn’t able to deflate. I suspect that’s more than many teachers with similar experience can say. I feel a sense of relief that I never encountered the kind of personal threats that I have recently read about on an all-too regular basis in news articles.

In the wake of campus violence, such as the mass killings at Virginia Tech in 2007, universities are grappling with how to identify students with mental illness and treat them. Doing so can also involve students' privacy rights.