Virginia High School Safety Study

The Virginia High School Safety Study examined student safety, discipline, and support practices that best maintain a safe and orderly school environment and facilitate learning. Our study was initiated in 2007 with a statewide survey of ninth grade students and teachers that assessed school climate and safety conditions. Survey results were then linked to other state databases such as school discipline records, standardized achievement results, and graduation rates.

Thanks to the support of the Virginia Center for School Safety in the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Department of Education, more than 90% of Virginia’s public high schools participated in the student and teacher surveys. We have produced a series of studies that have been presented at state and national conferences and published in scientific journals in education and psychology.

One-page Research Summaries

To communicate key study findings more concisely to high school administrators, we prepared a series of one-page research summaries. For copies, click below.

Issue 1: Be Strict or Be Supportive? 

Issue 2: How Should Schools Respond to Student Threats of Violence?

Issue 3: How Much Teacher Victimization Occurs in Virginia High Schools?  

Issue 4: How Can We Encourage Students to Seek Help to Prevent Violence?

Issue 5: Does School Safety Influence SOL Achievement?  

Issue 6: Why do Suspension Rates Vary so Much From School to School? 

Issue 7: How are Suspension Rates Related to Dropout Rates?  

Issue 8: Can a Supportive School Climate Reduce Suspension Rates for Black and White Students? 

Issue 9: Do Larger Schools Really Have more Bullying and Student Victimization?

Initial Study Reports

Background Report. We prepared a background report with details of survey administration, content, and results. Download the Executive Summary (10 pages) or the Full Report (132 pages, including Executive Summary).

2008 Symposium at the American Psychological Association National Convention. Download a two-page summary of these findings, which show how school demographics, disciplinary structure, and student support efforts are consistently associated with safety outcomes.

Journal Publications

We have published 15 articles in refereed journals in education and psychology on the findings from the Virginia High School Safety Study. Contact us if you would like copies of any of these journal publications.  For information on our new school climate research project, see the Virginia Secondary School Climate Study.