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Practice Reports

Do New York City Public School Students Feel Safe? Survey Says…

In order to determine whether New York City students feel safe in their schools, I surveyed five Junior High School students ages 11-14. The survey was designed in a simple True or False format, where the students simply wrote whichever word matched their opinion of the statement in question. While brainstorming, I decided not to ask open ended questions because the answers would not be as detailed as desired. By designing the survey this way, I got a chance to know whether or not they feel safe within the school building, without prying or digging into their personal experiences.

Survey Questions

Answer each question with TRUE OR FALSE

  1. My school has a safety plan that I know and have practiced.
  2. There are School Safety agents in my school building.
  3. I have experienced a “Lock Down” or “Shelter In” during school.
  4. Anyone is allowed into my school building.
  5. There are many fights and conflicts during school
  6. In general, my school is safe.
  7. I have been attacked by another student in or around school
  8. I have seen other students attacked in or around school
  9. I have seen or heard of students bringing weapons into the school building (gun, knife, taser, razor blade, etc)
  10. In the event of a school emergency, I feel confident that I will be fine.

After completing the survey, I debriefed the with the participants. I told them the purpose of the survey and why I asked these questions. The students were three males and two females. One male said “no school in New York City is safe, the kids be going through too much sh*t”. When I asked him to elaborate, he said “people always fighting, so no school is safe”. It was very interesting to hear this from a student because schools are thought to be a “safe haven” for children, when in New York City that may not be the case.

Using surveys, it is easy to collect data and calculate statistics. There are surveys with open ended questions and surveys with choices, like the one used above. When using a survey with choices, it is easy to put a number on your results. For example, of the five students, four of them answered TRUE for question 8. I am now able to infer that the majority of students in this group have witnessed another student being attacked in or around the school building. There is no way to refute the numerical data. For this reason, I enjoyed using this method. The results were easy to organize and read. The survey went as expected and I learned that children enjoy talking about their experiences in an open way. I will utilize this method of collecting data in the future. It was very easy to administer, and the results were very simple to organize and summarize.

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