DENVER (CBS4)– Schools across Colorado are participating in a program, which could help identify why students feel unsafe in the education environment. The survey is called the “Hot Spot Mapping” program.
Students identify where they feel unsafe in their school, by circling the locations on a map. They also fill out a questionnaire, which helps staff better understand what makes a students feel safe.
“One of the key features of this program is engaging young people, and building their voice and their agency for change,” said Danielle Tuft, Sexual Violence Prevention Program Manager for the Department of Public Health and Environment.
Tuft said the survey has reached nearly one dozen schools in Colorado thus far, providing important feedback which the schools didn’t have before.
“(The survey asked) what are their perceptions of safety, within their school?” Tuft said. “How does safety change depending on who you are? So, if you are a freshman versus a senior. Or, if you are a boy versus a girl.”
Previous surveys indicated some students felt unsafe in dark places, or in private locations which the other gender had proximity to, like a locker room.
“(Students circled) stairs, or hallways between classrooms, especially when folks are changing between class to class. Bathrooms are sometimes identified,” Tuft said.
With results in hand, some schools made changes to their buildings, by adding lights and cameras. Some even relocated locker rooms, to provide a better sense of safety.
One of the schools surveyed was High Tech Early College in Montbello. Dean of Student Culture Carol Tisdale told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas her students rated the environment fairly safe in comparison to others.
“Overall, perception by out student body is that our school is safe,” Tisdale said. “Fifty percent said ‘Everywhere, I feel safe everywhere.’”
The survey also helped staff recognize what staff members provided the best sense of comfort to students. Nearly 30 different staff members were singled out, which Tisdale took as a compliment to the staff as a whole.
“It warmed my heart,” Tisdale said.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.