Servoss Organizes National Conference on School Security

October 11, 2018

BUFFALO, NY – School security experts from across the country will converge in Washington, D.C. later this month to evaluate the effects and effectiveness of a variety of security measures currently in use in the nation’s schools.  The national conference, to be held Sunday, October 21 – Tuesday, October 23, is being organized by Timothy J. Servoss, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Canisius College and his UB colleague, SUNY Distinguished Professor Jeremy Finn, PhD.   

The conference will bring together educators, researchers and practitioners, many of whom are nationally known for their work in school security, and highlight the security disparity between schools with large minority populations and those whose student populations are predominantly white.  The conference expects to produce several publicly available reports that:


  • Summarize what is known from research and experience about security measures in American schools and their connection with racial/ethnic disparities;


  • Identify gaps in knowledge about security measures and produce an agenda for further research to increase understanding of the effects of school security measures on school personnel, students and parents;


  • Produce a report for policy makers about what is known about the positive and negative impacts of school security measures on all stakeholders; and


  • Identify strengths and weaknesses in government data about security measures. 


Servoss and Finn have studied the subject of school security measures at length.  In 2016, using survey data from the U.S. Department of Education, they found that the more security in a school, the less safe students feel.  Additionally, their research indicated that increased security does not decrease student misbehavior, crime, victimization or bullying.  It does, however, lead to higher suspension rates in schools that utilize resource officers.  Heightened security also triples the likelihood of students being arrested in schools that employ police officers. 

At the conference, Servoss will present brand new results from the most recent data collections on the relationship between police in schools and student arrests, as well as racial/ethnic disparities in the implementation of security.

“The relationship between race and security cannot be explained away by differences in urbanicity, socioeconomic status or the level of misbehavior, violence and crime in the schools and their surrounding neighborhoods,” Servoss notes. 

He and Finn presented their research findings to the American Educational Research Association in Washington, D.C., in 2016, and at several other research conferences and gatherings of school professionals.

For more information about the conference, contact the Office of College Communications at Canisius College at 716.888-2790.

One of 28 Jesuit universities in the nation, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York.