Despite an increase in safety practices at public schools, only around half or less said they are very prepared for suicide threats or incidents, intruder situations, shooting and bomb threats, active shooters or other armed individuals, according to nationally representative school survey data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Only 55% of public schools said they are very prepared for suicide threats or incidents, and slightly less than a quarter (24%) said they are very prepared for active shooters. Most respondents to the November 2022 School Pulse Panel collection said they are only somewhat prepared for these situations, according to a report from K12 Dive.

However, 50% of respondents reported having at least one school resource officer at their school at least once a week, signifying an increase from 45% who said the same in a comparable survey in 2017-18.

The results come after the worst calendar year for school shootings in over four decades. Schools experienced 302 school shootings in 2022, compared to 250 the year before, according to the K-12 Shooting Database.

The database found students made up the highest percentage — 43% — of school shooters when considering the shooter’s role or relationship to the school.

While student behavioral interventions and mental health support have often been cited as potentially mitigating factors for school violence, most schools (72%) sampled in the School Pulse Panel survey said a complete lack of or inadequate alternative placements or programs for disruptive students limited reducing disruptive student behaviors. Those percentages have been unchanged since 2017-18.

More schools in 2022 also cited inadequate funding and lack of parental support for school policies as obstacles to reducing disruptive student behaviors.

While schools struggle with inadequate resources and support, school safety experts have advised leaders to focus training staff on situational awareness, quickly recognizing changes in behavior patterns, and developing decision-making skills under duress.

In the November 2022 NCES survey, a greater percentage of schools also said they offered training for teachers on positive behavioral intervention strategies (93% in 2022 vs. 84% in 2017-18), crisis prevention and intervention (84% vs. 73%), and on recognizing signs of self-harm or suicidal tendencies (84% vs. 67%).