A student’s decision to report a weapon on campus could be a life-or-death one. A study from the University of Texas-Dallas shows that high-achieving students are most likely to report dangerous weapons on campus, with prior knowledge of weapons on campus coming in as the top factor causing students to not report the crime.
The study, published in Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, showed that 76% of students say they would report a knife on campus to a school official, with 88% saying they would report a gun. While academic achievement was most associated with willingness to report weapons, also playing a role was a student’s attachment to the school – which especially increased the likelihood of a student reporting the presence of a knife.
Also mentioned by the researchers was students’ knowledge of school security. Both male and female students who knew of at least two school security measures were found more likely to report weapons on campus. With up to 34% of students reporting to have either seen or known of weapons on campus within the past three months, the study’s authors urge school administrators to take a proactive approach to school security.
“We don’t often think about prevention efforts as a joint effort between school administrators and students, but research like this shows students’ voices matter. They are the first line of defense to something like the prevention and intervention of weapons,” says Dr. Nadine Connell, lead author of the study.