The Importance of Feeling Safe and Connected at School

Youth With High, Medium, and Low Levels of School Connectedness Who Feel Very Unsafe at School, 2017-2019

School safety plays a crucial role in youth’s development and academic success. Students who feel safe at school tend to have better emotional health and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. That sense of safety contributes to an overall feeling of connection. School connectedness is measured as feeling happy, safe, close to people, a part of school, and believing teachers treat students fairly.

In California, 20% of students in grades 7, 9, 11, and non-traditional programs who had low connectedness felt very unsafe at school, according to the latest available data. In contrast, fewer than 3% of their peers who had a higher level of connection to school felt very unsafe.

Both safety and connectedness can be improved by providing schools with adequate support to create positive climates and expand the workforce of qualified mental health professionals serving youth. Supporting schools in these needed improvements can help students feel safer and more connected to school. Learn more about other policies and practices to improve school safety and connectedness.

Funding for’s latest information on school safety is provided by the California Department of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, Rape Prevention and Education Program.

Webinar Now Available

In case you missed it, our latest webinar recording and slides are now available! During the webinar, “Child Well-Being During the Pandemic,” Lori Turk-Bicakci, KidsData’s director, explored findings on caregivers’ concerns about their children’s mental health and educational progress. Tracy Mendez, California School-Based Health Alliance’s executive director, shared how school-based health centers (SBHCs) can help address concerns about student health and well-being. See recording and slides.


Recently Released Data

We recently released data about bullying and harassment at school, gang involvement, and school safety. See links to the latest here.

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