Child-size school chairs in circle

Astor on Clashing Strategies for Making Schools Safer

UCLA Luskin school safety expert Ron Avi Astor spoke to USA Today about dueling strategies for addressing gun violence on campus. Many schools have increased the presence of police officers and metal detectors, while others prioritize social-emotional learning, which teaches students self-awareness, empathy and resilience. “You have these two genres – the zero-tolerance policies and making each school look like a little prison on one side. Ironically, you have – at the same time – the opposite vision of making school a more loving and caring and supportive place,” said Astor, a professor of social welfare and education. Tapping into both methods at once may create an atmosphere that is confusing to students, he said, recommending that schools adopt a single, consistent approach. Astor added that rates of bullying, fights and drug use in schools have significantly decreased over the past 20 years, largely due to a stronger connection to community resources, the hiring of more social workers and prioritization of student empowerment.


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