Guns in schools is a public health issue that needs to be tackled with data-informed strategiesFebruary 3, 20181 min read
Ron Astor, Lenore Stein-Wood and William S. Wood Professor of School Behavioral Health at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck of Social Work, urges districts and schools to utilize data gathered from statewide administered surveys on school climate to develop preventative strategies to reduce the presence of weapons on school campuses.
Schools throughout California administer the California Healthy Kids Survey to measure school climate, substance use and well-being among California students.
Results from the Fifteenth Biennial Statewide Student Survey, which surveyed 7th, 9th and 11th grade students between 2013-2015, showed striking insights into the prevalence of weapons on campus.
7th graders in the survey indicated the following:
· 1.2% carried a gun to school property one time
· 3.3% carried any other weapon (such as a knife or club) to school property one time
· 12.8% had seen someone carrying a gun, knife or other weapon to school property at one time
“Let’s get the rumbling before the storm. We don’t have a state or national strategy other than the Gun-Free School Zones Act to address the issue of weapons on campus,” Astor said. “We need to move to a public health approach to develop a preventative strategy for weapon reduction using data.”