NIJ’s Comprehensive School Safety Initiative

Interested in School Safety? Subscribe Today!

What We Know About What Works

As part of the Initiative, we looked at existing school safety research and rated programs and practices on

Review the list of rated programs and practices.

NIJ’s Comprehensive School Safety Initiative is a research-focused initiative to increase the safety of schools and students nationwide.

On this page find:

About the Initiative

The goal of the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative is to improve the safety of our nation’s schools and students through rigorous research that produces practical knowledge. This is accomplished through partnerships — among educators, researchers, and stakeholders from other disciplines, such as law enforcement, behavioral and mental health professionals — that are working toward the following objectives:

  • Increasing scientific knowledge about the root causes, characteristics, and consequences of school violence and other threats to school and student safety.
  • Developing, supporting, and rigorously evaluating a wide range of school and student safety programs, practices, and strategies.
  • Developing a comprehensive school safety framework based on the best available information and evidence and testing it in selected school districts.

For the most part, schools in the U.S. are safe places for students; but when violence does occur, it affects a particularly vulnerable population (children and adolescents), and strikes a blow against a fundamental public institution in our communities. Threats to school and student safety may come from outside or inside the school and from adults or minors. Safeguarding against these threats may require a wide range of activities including:

  • Building partnerships between educators and law enforcement.
  • Creating a positive school climate.
  • Implementing effective disciplinary policies.
  • Providing access to quality behavioral and mental health services.
  • Assessing internal and external threats.
  • Controlling access and improving physical security.
  • Working with families.
  • Developing school emergency operations plans.

Much remains to be learned about the effectiveness and best approaches to these, and other, school safety activities.

Additional Comprehensive School Safety Initiative resources:

Ongoing Research

NIJ launched the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative in 2014 with a congressional appropriation of $75 million. Learn about the projects NIJ funded in 2014.

In 2015, NIJ awarded $69 million in support of 25 additional projects. Learn about the projects NIJ funded in 2015 (pdf, 14 pages).

Date modified: October 21, 2015