About Safe School Ambassadors Training & Services Program Management Tools How You Can Help Contact Us Home

About SSA: The Problem

Adults commonly perceive that schools are safe. After all, violent crimes in schools have dropped in recent years, and statistically most schools are safer than cars and homes for young people.

However, research by Dr. Wendy Craig shows that adults miss as much as 95% of the subtle but pervasive peer mistreatment that occurs daily - exclusion, insults, rumors, harassment, bullying and intimidation, and worse.

Even with the increased focus on school safety and climate, and recent changes in many schools' policies:

  • 25,000 students are targets of attacks, shakedowns, robberies in secondary schools every day (National School Safety Center)
  • 46% of high school students report seeing a serious fight at least once a month at school (USA Today). Research shows that 1/3 of the brain shuts down for as much as 72 hours after seeing that type of violence
  • 260 teachers are physically assaulted and 6250 teachers are threatened with bodily injury every day (National Education Association)
  • approximately 75% of students say they have been bullied at school (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)
  • every day, 160,000 students stay home from school due to fear of attack or intimidation (National Association of School Psychologists)

And every day, how many thousands - or millions - MORE students come to school with knots in their guts, afraid they'll be teased, bullied, hurt or killed?

This pervasive fear undermines all attempts to improve student performance, because academic achievement requires a school climate of physical and emotional safety. To assess the extent of cruelty and violence at your school, consider administering a Climate Survey.

Learn more about the cost of cruelty.


"Even though I know many of the students well, I was surprised by what they said. I had no idea it was that hard for them and this is not a 'bad' school."

--Lisa Martin, Counselor, Lakeside Middle School, California

Support this Work