Some University of Virginia professors have been given some extra cash to see how safe Virginia schools really are.
The $500,000 grant will assess and develop ways to improve school environments for Virginia students. The grant from Youth-Nex will cover the development and administration of surveys.
This is a first because all the schools have never been looked at as a whole. The professors will create surveys over the next four years that will examine the safety of school conditions. How well teachers and students get along with one another and the amount of bullying in schools as well as other behavioral problems will be explored.
Dewey Cornell, the professor heading the research team, says school climate is important to both emotional and academic health to students.
"It's taken some time to really demonstrate that school climate really deserves comparable consideration that it really is relevant to the academic success to students. And for us to develop the kind of technology and set of process. That will gives schools really valuable information," he said.
The grant only covers secondary schools. Middle schools will be evaluated starting next spring and high schools are up for review next year. Once schools have been evaluated it will allow them to improve practices to maintain a safe school environment.