CCSSO, Education Commission of the States Unveil State K-12 School Safety Comparison, Resources

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Washington, D.C. (February 26, 2019) –– The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and Education Commission of the States today announced the release of a K-12 School Safety 50-State Comparison that allows analysis of key state school safety requirements around school safety plans, audits and drills, as well as school resource officers and weapons in schools.

The 50-State Comparison is the result of a collaboration between Education Commission of the States and CCSSO’s School Safety Steering Committee. The steering committee is a group of state chiefs that was formed in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and is focused on identifying and sharing promising school safety and supportive school climate practices.

CCSSO’s School Safety Steering Committee approached Education Commission of the States about producing a school safety policy analysis and provided guidance and feedback as Education Commission of the States undertook the work.

Separately, CCSSO also announced today the availability of an online school safety repository containing  tools and resources collected from states around school climate and culture, school security and facilities, emergency preparedness, response and recovery, bullying and cyberbullying, and mental health and suicide. Both the 50-State Comparison and the repository can be accessed on CCSSO’s school safety webpage.

“CCSSO’s priority, and the priority of chiefs across the country, is to provide all students with a high-quality, equitable education. This includes providing a safe and supportive school environment that is responsive to the academic and social-emotional needs of all children,” said CCSSO Executive Director Carissa Moffat Miller.

“The comprehensive 50-State Comparison and the school safety resource repository are valuable tools that allow states to share promising practices. Ensuring a safe school environment requires us to explore complex challenges but state chiefs are committed to find solutions to protect our students and educators."

"So far in 2019, state policymakers across the country have introduced more than 200 bills related to school safety," said Education Commission of the States President Jeremy Anderson. "We are also seeing an increased focus on policies directed at the wraparound services and mental health supports that complement physical safety."

Education Commission of the States researched K-12 school safety policies in state statute and regulation in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to provide the comprehensive online resource. Local district or school policies are not included. The resource allows for comparison in five specific areas: School Safety Plans, School Safety Audits, School Safety Drills, School Resource Officers and Weapons in Schools.

Using the 50-State Comparison, Education Commission of the States identified several key highlights in the five areas, including:

  • At least 43 states and D.C. require a school safety plan in statute or regulation. At least 29 states and D.C. require law enforcement agencies to be involved in the creation of a school safety plan.


  • At least 13 states and D.C. have a statutory or regulatory requirement for a school safety audit of school facilities. At least five states require law enforcement agencies to be present in conducting this audit.


  • At least 42 states require schools to conduct safety or security drills in state statute or regulation. Other states may require drills through handbooks, guides or other rules.


  • At least 28 states and D.C. define school resource officers in state statute or regulations. Other states may define school resource officers in handbooks, guides or other rules. At least 27 states and D.C. require training, either similar to what's required of traditional law enforcement or tailored specifically for school resource officers.


  • States allow or prohibit the carrying of weapons for three key groups on school campuses: school resource officers, other school employees, and concealed carry permit holders. Additionally, some states allow local authorities to determine whether to allow weapons on campus and who may carry them.
    • At least 30 states and D.C. allow school security personnel to possess weapons in schools;
    • At least eight states allow other school employees to possess weapons in schools, typically only if they meet certain criteria;
    • At least 11 states allow concealed carry permit holders to possess weapons in schools; and
    • At least 24 states give school districts or school boards the authority to decide whether they will allow weapons in school.

CCSSO’s effort to address safety in schools is grounded in CCSSO's commitment to create a more equitable education system for all children, which includes providing a safe and supportive school environment for all children.

CCSSO’s School Safety Steering Committee continues to identify, share and explore state-based policies and practices on an array of school safety issues—from the security of facilities to provision of mental health and counseling services to the integration of instruction that addresses students’ social, personal and emotional needs. Resources of this kind will be continued to be shared in the CCSSO school safety repository.




The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.


About Education Commission of the States

Education Commission of the States serves as a partner to state policymakers by providing personalized support and helping education leaders come together and learn from one another. Through their programs and services, policymakers gain the insight and experience needed to create effective education policy. Education Commission of the States researches and reports on education policies from early learning through postsecondary and workforce and their staff provide unbiased advice on policy plans, consult on proposed legislation and testify at legislative hearings and interim committees as third-party experts.


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