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SCHOOL SAFETY - Analysis of Safety Policy Planning and its Implementation in General Education Institutions

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Number Of Pages:  89

Publication Year:  2023

ISBN:  978-9941-8-5559-7



The right to education is guaranteed both by the Constitution of Georgia[1] and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC),[2] according to which every child has a fundamental right to education. According to the Constitution of Georgia, elementary and basic education is mandatory in the country, thus, the state undertakes to offer accessible school education to school-age children.[3] In addition to providing quality education, the school plays a central role in the process of child development, among others, it contributes to the formation of children’s critical thinking skills, the teaching of non-violent behavior models, and ways of peaceful conflict resolution.[4]

A safe environment in educational institutions is one of the central components of access to general education.[5] According to the Law on General Education, this principle implies the provision of a safe environment for life, health, and property, for which the school is responsible.[6] For this purpose, since 2010, the Office of Resource Officers of Educational Institutionshas been integrated into the public school system.[7]  

Periodically, the issue of school safety is gaining actuality. Unfortunately, this is almost always related to a tragic incident at school, which is mostly the result of a conflict between teenagers. It should be noted that such cases are always followed by public outrage and less academic discussion of the issue in the media or among political groups. Criticism is often voiced about the state’s ineffectiveness in terms of preventing school violence. It is not surprising that such public outrage quickly subsides and reappears with the next tragic incident, without critical reflection on the challenges of a safe school environment.

For the 2021-2022 school year, almost 625,000 students studied in Georgian schools. 2308 general educational institutions were operating in the country, 90% of which were public, and almost 10% were private schools. The distribution of students in public (90% of students) and private (10% of students) schools is in accordance with the said proportion. More than 10,500 students have the status of a person with special educational needs or disabilities. During the 2021-2022 school year, more than 8,800 students dropped out, which is higher than the data for the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 school years, however, it is significantly lower than the drop-out rates from earlier (2016/2017, 2017/2018 and 2018/2019) school years. [8]  

In the said school year (2021-2022), almost 63,000 teachers were employed in general educational institutions, [9]  and more than 1,600 resource officers were assigned to public schools.[10] As of the 2022-2023 school year, resource officers are present in 690 public schools in Georgia,[11] covering over 85% of the public school students in the country.[12]

As for the main trends in the juvenile justice system, in 2021, 55 minors were found to be administrative offenders,[13] and in 2022 - 43.[14]  The indicators of juvenile criminal convictions are as follows: in 2021, a total of 210, [15] and in 2022, 251 juveniles were convicted.[16] In addition, according to the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia, in 2021, criminal prosecution was initiated against 251 minors, and the diversion mechanism was used in 363 criminal cases.[17] It should be noted that, compared to 2020, the rate of diversion in juvenile criminal cases has slightly increased (approx. 5%).

The purpose of this document is to study the legislation, by-laws, and practices related to school safety, specifically the establishment of a safe school environment. An important part of the document will be devoted to analyzing the activities of the LEPL Office of Resource Officers of Educational Institutions (hereinafter the Office of Resource Officers) as a central unit in creating a safe school environment. In addition, the study will look at the actors and collegial bodies of the school community involved in the process of ensuring school safety. Attention will also be paid to the security infrastructure, mainly technological and surveillance tools. The text analyzes the types of school violations, as well as the excessive role of the police in the process of ensuring a safe school environment. Overall, the document attempts to identify and critically analyze Georgia’s current school safety model. We hope that the document will serve to generate new knowledge on the challenges of school safety and encourage discussion on this issue among professionals and academic circles.


Footnote and Bibliography

[1] The Constitution of Georgia, article 27, paragraph 2.

[2] UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, paragraph 28.

[3] The Constitution of Georgia, article 27, paragraph 2.

[4] Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children, (2016), Tackling violence in Schools: A global perspective Bridging the gap between standards and practice, foreword.

[5] Law Of Georgia On General Education, article 7, paragraph 7, paragraph 3, subparagraph “e” available: https://bit.ly/3AAuXDN, accessed on: 10.07.2022.

[6] Ibid, article 9, paragraph 9. 

[7] Ibid.

[8] LEPL National Statistics Office of Georgia, available https://bit.ly/3mLW9en, accessed on: 31.03.2023.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Correspondence of LEPL Office of Resource Officers of Educational Institutions  N MES 5 22 0001291300 dated October 13, 2022.

[11]  LEPL Office of Resource Officers of Educational Institutions, available at: https://bit.ly/3JDmZgi, accessed on: 31.03.2023.

[12] Interview with the Planning and Analysis Department and head of psychosocial service center (interview 1).

[13] Correspondence of the Supreme Court of Georgia NP-1272-22 dated November 1, 2022.

[14]Correspondence of the Supreme Court of Georgia NP-402-23 dated May 12, 2022.

[15] Correspondence of the Supreme Court of Georgia NP-1272-22 dated November 1, 2022.

[16] Correspondence of the Supreme Court of Georgia NP-402-23 dated May 12, 2022.

[17] 2021 Activity Report of the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, p. 30, available at: https://bit.ly/3JAfgQ5, accessed on: 31.03.2023.

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