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Pilot Evaluation of K-12 School Security Professionals Online Training: Understanding Trauma and Social-Emotional Learning

NCJ Number
School Mental Health Volume: 13 Issue: 1 Dated: 2021 Pages: 41-54
D. L. Espelage; et al
Date Published
14 pages

This study evaluated an online professional development program for school security professionals (SSPs) that provides education on two topics related to best practices in working with youth in K-12 school settings: trauma-informed care (TIC) and social–emotional learning.



School resource officers and other school security professionals (SSPs) (e.g., security specialists, guardians, campus monitors) have become increasingly common in schools; however, most states do not require that these professionals receive training related to understanding trauma and how it may affect students’ behavior and how to promote social–emotional learning competencies among students. The current study used a posttest-only design of 96 SSPs from a county in the southeastern United States. Participants self-selected into two trainings: Cohort 1 (immediate intervention, May 2019) or Cohort 2 (delayed intervention–control group, August 2019). A linear regression model indicated that Cohort 1 (immediate intervention) scored significantly higher on TIC knowledge (b = .36, p < .01) and competencies (b = .31, p < .01) than Cohort 2 (delayed intervention–control group). More studies are needed to assess how training for SSPs directly impacts school climate and school safety. (publisher abstract modified)