Healthy and safe school environment, Part I: Results from the School Health Policies and Programs Study 2006

J Sch Health. 2007 Oct;77(8):522-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2007.00233.x.


Background: Policies set at the state, district, and school levels can support and enhance a healthy and safe school environment.

Methods: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducts the School Health Policies and Programs Study every 6 years. In 2006, computer-assisted telephone interviews or self-administered mail questionnaires were completed by state education agency personnel in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and among a nationally representative sample of school districts (n=461). Computer-assisted personal interviews were conducted with personnel in a nationally representative sample of elementary, middle, and high schools (n=1025).

Results: Most districts had adopted a policy on the inspection and maintenance of school facilities and equipment, and most schools had inspected and provided appropriate maintenance for each type of school facility and equipment during the 12 months preceding the study. Nearly all districts and schools had a comprehensive crisis preparedness, response, and recovery plan. Nearly all districts and schools prohibited tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drug use; fighting; weapons use; and weapon possession; but when students broke rules related to those behaviors, punitive measures were taken more often than provision of supportive services. Most schools did not reschedule outdoor activities to avoid times when the sun was at peak intensity, nor did they encourage the use of sunscreen before going outside.

Conclusions: To provide students with a truly healthy and safe school environment in which learning can take place, more schools need to promote a positive school climate and reduce violence, injuries, and the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances. States and districts need to continue to provide policy and technical assistance in support of school efforts.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Child
  • Environment Design*
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Organizational Policy
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Safety*
  • Schools*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control