Nearly one-third of adolescents do not feel safe at school according to a large international study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry.
The study included 21,688 adolescents aged 13 to 15 from 13 countries who completed self-administered surveys between 2011 and 2017. The survey was conducted in Finland, Norway, Lithuania, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, China, Singapore, Vietnam and Russia.
‘Interventions including psychoeducation and social-emotional learning programs can enhance positive interaction of children and reduce behavioral problems in schools.’
There were large variations across countries, from 11.5% (Finland) to 69.8% (Japan) of girls and from 7.7% (Norway) to 68.2% (Japan) of boys feeling unsafe. The study also found that there were large variations between schools in many countries, indicating inequality in the educational environment within the country.
Build Healthy Student-Teacher Relationships
Students who felt that their teachers cared about them were more likely to feel safe at school indicating the important role of teachers in shaping students’ emotional sense of safety at school.
Fair, clear and consistent school rules are very important in producing safety in schools, according to our previous review. On the other hand, when students experience bullying victimization, which was reflected in a lower sense of safety.
The result showed that feeling unsafe at school was associated with mental health problems which may persist throughout life. The results highlight the need for school-based, anti-bullying interventions and mental health promotion.
The findings showed a clear need for strategies to provide educational environments where all students can feel protected regardless of their background.
Physically, cognitively and an emotionally safe school environment is essential for the development and educational success of children and young people. All children have the right to attend schools where they can feel safe and protected without fear or anxiety of any danger.
In the wake of recent school shootings we must take steps to enhance safety in educational settings and protect students from all forms of violence and abuse.