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Are Private Schools Statistically Safer Than Public Schools?

There’s a great deal of debate when it comes to the comparison of private schools and public K-12 schools. Many families have concerns about safety at public schools - and some have bad reputations that justify those concerns.

Various studies and statistics tend to support the notion that private K-12 schools are statistically safer than public K-12 schools.

Sadly, many of those sending their children to dangerous public schools don't have a choice in the matter - as school assignment is typically based on geography. Private school parents can send their children anywhere they want.

Safety Concerns in Schools Today

Public and private academic organizations alike have a lot to deal with these days. School shootings, gangs, crime, drugs, alcohol, discrimination, bullying, misbehavior, physical assault, and even acts of terrorism are just a few of the issues parents and school administrators have to worry about and protect against.

School Shooting Statistics

Lockers at a K Through 12 School

An active shooter scenario is among the worst of parents’ fears. These acts of violence get a lot of publicity, as they should.

When a tragedy like this occurs, our nation comes together to mourn for those lost. It also gives us the opportunity to bring the issue of school violence to light.

Keeping School Violence in Perspective

While school violence is on many people’s minds, it’s also important to keep things in perspective. Because of mass shootings, people assume kids have a higher degree of risk today than say 20 years ago. Statistically speaking, this isn’t the case.

Few realize the odds of a student being killed at school were 7 times higher in the 1991-1992 school year than they were in the 2010-2011 school term.

  • The odds of getting struck by lightning are one in 700,000.
  • The odds of a student being killed at school are one in 2,700,000.

Regardless of the statistics, the loss of even one child to violence is one too many, which is why schools must take precautions and find ways to reduce acts of violence on school grounds.

Are School Shootings More Common at Private Schools or Public K-12 Schools?

A review of the mass school shootings list confirms that most K-12 school shootings have occurred at public institutions. As of 2017, private K-12 academic institutes have been, for the most part, spared from large-scale mass shootings.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that anything could happen in the future.

Neither private nor public K-12 schools should let down their guard. School security should be at the top of every school adminstrator, both public and private.

If there's anything we've learned from past attacks, it's that a senseless act of violence can happen anywhere, for any reason, and possibly for no reason at all.

School Violence: Private vs. Public

Security Cameras on a School Campus

The Council for American Private Education have compiled an array of statistics related to school violence and how public academic organizations compare to their private counterpart.

While this particular organization reports stats that perpetuate the notion that private schools are safer, it’s still a pretty close call.

Also, keep in mind the source of these statistics. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Gang Presence: 2% of Private Schools – 19% of Public Schools
  • Odds of Becoming a Victim of Crime: 2% at Private Schools – 4% at Public Schools
  • Physical Attack by another Student: 3% at Private Schools – 6% at Public Schools

School Safety Strategies

There are a number of resources and organizations dedicated to helping prevent violence in our schools, such as:

There are also several companies working to develop teacher and classroom defenses against mass shooters, as well as improve police response times to school emergencies.

Learn More About K-12 School Security

Richmond Alarm Company installs security systems, access control, and intelligent video equipment at K-12 schools, universities, and various public institutions from Virginia Beach to Richmond to Roanoke.

Click on the button below to learn more about school security solutions that can help improve safety at public and private school institutions here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.