Safety Tech & Preparedness

New Report Reveals Parents' and Teachers' Critical Perspective on School Safety

A new report from Motorola Solutions reveals parents’ and teachers’ top concerns and how much they know about and are confident in their schools’ safety planning and emergency response preparation.

two pie charts show the level of confidence among parents and teachers surveyed about their schools' safety preparedness trainingThe 2023 K–12 School Safety Report captured sentiments from 1,000 parents and 1,000 educators across the United States, asking them about their schools’ emergency preparedness plans, communication practices, school safety technologies, and training for teachers and students. 

Data from their responses shows that 67% of both parents and teachers are much more concerned about school safety now than they were five years ago, even as 73% of parents and 80% of teachers are confident that their school’s emergency response plans are effective. 

“School safety is top of mind for parents and educators alike, with both groups expressing concerns about mental health issues, bullying and active shooter situations,” said Todd Piett, vice president of Rave Mobile Safety at Motorola Solutions. “Ensuring that school personnel and families are aware of proactive planning practices, the notification methods employed by schools, technologies in place to thwart and report emergencies and school protocols for when incidents occur will not only help to alleviate worries, but ultimately improve safety outcomes.” 

Motorola Solutions’ survey was conducted in June by independent market research firm Researchscape, according to a news release.

Key Findings

  • Safety planning and awareness of safety preparedness can impactenrollment and staff retentionWhen considering which school to enroll their children or to accept a job as a teacher, respondents both ranked school safety as a critical factor (66% for parents, 72% for teachers). 

  • Student mental health continues to be a top concern: Nearly two-thirds (64%) of parents and 68% of teachers are very or extremely concerned about students’ mental health. 

  • Communication channels before a crisis and during a crisis48% of teachers said their school offers a method for submitting anonymous or confidential tips to either school leaders, law enforcement, or both, while just 43% of parents said the same. 

  • Keeping parents engaged and informed about safety technology: 74% of teachers said their school has adopted new safety technology in the last two years, while 54% of parents reported that they haven’t seen new safety technologies implemented. “This disparity presents an opportunity for schools to periodically communicate with parents about the safety solutions they're implementing to reduce risk or expedite response,” Motorola Solutions’ report said. 

    • 46% of parents say panic button apps that allow teachers and school staff to quickly notify law enforcement “would increase their confidence in school safety.”

    • 89% of parents say their child has participated in a school lockdown drill, with 96% of teachers reporting the same. 

    • 82% of parents say their child has participated in a drill specifically for active shooter preparedness, while 73% of teachers have participated in such drills with students and another 10% without students.

    • 36% of teachers have not engaged in training with first responders but they want to.


  • Communication during a ‘live emergency event’:

    • 84% of teachers report that they have been notified of emergency incidents unfolding at or near their school and instructed on the actions they need to take. 

    • In an emergency, 57% of teachers said they would typically use the classroom phone to call the main office — which Motorola Solutions said is “a time-consuming approach that does not simultaneously loop in school district officials, 911 call handlers, or first responders who may need to act fast.”

    • 89% of parents say their child’s school has an alerting system to immediately contact them via phone, text and/or email during an emergency. 

    • In an emergency evacuation, 32% of teachers said they would be notified in-person when it is safe to bring students back to school or if students should be taken to a reunification point; 21% said they’d be notified via SMS message from school safety personnel or administrators, and 20% would be notified via two-way radios.


  • Types of school safety technology commonly used:

    • Parents asked what types of school safety technologies are used at their child’s school answered:

      • 59% visitor management protocols 

      • 57% video security equipment 

      • 58% alert notifications 

      • 45% two-way radios 

      • 41% public address systems 

    • Teachers asked what types of school safety technologies are in use at their schools answered: 

      • 83% video security equipment 

      • 83% visitor management protocols 

      • 74% access control equipment such as smart locks that require a key card or badge

      • 74% emergency notifications sent via phone, text and/or email to parents (74%). 

    • When asked what technologies would most make them feel better about school safety, parents answered: 

      • 46% panic button apps 

      • 45% concealed weapons detection technology 

      • 39% metal detectors 

Learn more and read the full 2023 K-12 School Safety Report at Motorola’s website

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].