Which School Safety Efforts Are Effective?
Iris and face recognition
Identifying a person and verifying identity using iris recognition and facial recognition helps make schools safe by verifying authorized parents, staff and visitors.Iris recognition systems scan a person’s iris to identify and verify it. NIJ evaluated an iris recognition system installed at several school sites in New Jersey. Parents, students and teachers reported that the system made them feel safer. However, the system was only moderately effective in ensuring safety — user inexperience, poor lighting and uncooperative individuals made the system less effective.
For more information about iris and face recognition projects, see NIJ's Biometrics Web page.
Internet Safety Curriculum
I-SAFE America is a nonprofit foundation helping children understand Internet safety. To begin developing a knowledge base about what works best in this field, NIJ funded an evaluation of the I-SAFE Internet safety curriculum. The evidence showed that I-SAFE effectively increased children’s knowledge about Internet safety.
I-SAFE has three components:
- Education. Creating a school-based curriculum for grades K–12.
- Outreach. Using resources from the community and school leaders, parents and students to increase Internet safety awareness.
- The Youth Empowerment Campaign. Using peer-to-peer communication to disseminate Internet safety messages.
The study was implemented in 18 schools in six sites with more than 2,000 children. Researchers studied whether students retained knowledge and how much conformity to the curriculum is needed.
Monitoring Sex Offenders
NIJ is supporting development of software that tracks sex offenders through a national database. The software can be installed in schools to keep potentially harmful school visitors away from children. The program, called Raptor V-Soft Technologies, uses Web-based software to track the location of visitors, students and staff on school premises. Visitors must scan an ID or other form of identification when entering a location.