Socioeconomic and Racial Factors of School Security in the U.S.

  1. Juvenile Justice
  2. Race and Inequality

Key Findings

  • Schools with larger proportions of racial/ethnic minorities are significantly more likely than others to have metal detectors, an exclusionary security mechanism.
  • Larger schools are more likely to have more security mechanisms on at least one school level (elementary, middle and high school).
  • Elementary, middle and high schools with low-income students and non-white students have more exclusionary school punishments.


In, “Race, Poverty, and Exclusionary School Security: An empirical analysis of U.S. elementary, middle, and high schools,” Kupchik looks at factors that influence high school security and exclusionary school punishments, suspensions and expulsions. The concern is that exclusionary punishment and increased security are most common in schools where the students come from low-income, non-white populations. To address this, Kupchik’s research  used nationally-representative school data from School Survey on Crime and Safety to look at types of the security schools use. The results confirmed that exclusionary security measures were used in schools with low-income and non-white students.

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