In search of a safe school: racialized perceptions of security and the school choice process

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Billingham, Chase M.
Kimelberg, Shelley McDonough
Faude, Sarah
Hunt, Matthew O.

Chase M. Billingham, Shelley M. Kimelberg, Sarah Faude & Matthew O. Hunt (2020) In Search of a Safe School: Racialized Perceptions of Security and the School Choice Process, The Sociological Quarterly


Do school security policies affect how safe parents perceive schools to be, and do they influence parental choice behavior? We address these questions using data from a survey that asked U.S. parents to evaluate hypothetical schools whose security systems and student body racial composition were systematically varied, along with other school characteristics. Results indicate that parents identify schools with intensified security measures as less safe. Furthermore, parents are less willing to enroll their children in schools perceived as unsafe, schools with heightened security, and schools with high black enrollment. We discuss the implications of these findings for educational policy.

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