School Security Measures and Longitudinal Trends in Adolescents’ Experiences of Victimization

Abstract

Although school security measures have become a common fixture in public schools across the United States, research on the relationship between security and adolescent victimization is mixed, with very few studies examining trends in adolescent victimization across time. Using two waves of data from the Educational Longitudinal Study 2002 (N = 7659; 50.6% female; 56.7% White, 13.3% Black, 13.5% Hispanic, 11.3% Asian American, 5.4% other race), results from a series of multi-level models demonstrate that adolescents in schools with more security measures report higher odds of being threatened with harm, and no difference in odds of being in a physical altercation or having something stolen over time. Although prior research has established racial disparities in using school security measures, results demonstrate inconsistent patterns in the extent to which adolescents’ race conditions the relationship between security and victimization. The findings are discussed in light of existing theoretical and empirical work, and implications for both research and practice are offered.

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Change history

  • 13 July 2020

    An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

Notes

  1. 1.

    Fitting a 2PL, and assessing model fit using discrimination and difficulty parameters, is explained in depth in de Ayala 2009 (p. 99-103). In brief, these two related parameters capture the extent to which each item is difficult (i.e. the ability for schools to “succeed” in having the security measure), and discriminatory (i.e. the extent to which items vary from very low to very high values on the latent trait). Items fit the 2PL model when they range up to 2.5 (see de Ayala 2009, p. 101).

  2. 2.

    We first ran the models with the main effects only, and then ran an additional model that added in the interaction terms. Results of the main effects in both models were substantively identical and, to save space, we present the main effects and interaction terms in one model.

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Authors’ Contributions

B.W.F. and T.J.M. conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, conducted data analysis, and drafted the manuscript; J.H.B. assisted with data analysis and interpretation. All authors read and approved the final submission of this manuscript.

Data Sharing Declaration

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are available in the Educational Data Analysis Tool repository, https://nces.ed.gov/edat/index.aspx?agrmnt=1.

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Correspondence to Benjamin W. Fisher or Thomas J. Mowen or John H. Boman IV.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study formal consent is not required. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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All participants in the original study from which these data were derived provided informed consent. Because this manuscript uses deidentified secondary data, we do not have copies of the informed consent forms.

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Fisher, B.W., Mowen, T.J. & Boman, J.H. School Security Measures and Longitudinal Trends in Adolescents’ Experiences of Victimization. J Youth Adolescence 47, 1221–1237 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-018-0818-5

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Keywords

  • School security
  • Victimization
  • Race
  • School safety