School safety solutions that increase teacher retention

Teacher retention in the US is at an all time low. Find out why this is the case, and how school safety solutions can help.

As of January 2022, a staggering 55% of educators were thinking about leaving the profession earlier than they had planned, according to a poll conducted by the National Education Association. The unprecedented amount of strain educators experienced during the 2020-21 school year (and beyond) has led to anxiety, stress, and burnout.

Under these circumstances, teacher retention has become a major challenge for school districts across the US. 

Why teachers leave – burnout and safety concerns

Throughout school closures, many teachers and staff members, like employees in all sectors, were obligated to simultaneously work from home, parent, and facilitate online learning for their own children. The exhaustion produced by this set of circumstances is one factor that has led many educators to consider leaving the profession.

This is one reason for the ongoing staff shortages that have become an acute problem since in-person learning was recommenced. Combined with educator absences due to illness and required quarantine periods, teacher turnover has become a challenge for many districts across the US.

According to the Brookings Institution, “perhaps no challenge has been so acute as the operational and staffing challenges that have hit schools during the pandemic.” Districts nationwide have reported unfilled vacancies for janitors, bus drivers, teachers aides, and substitute teachers, which hobbled many schools.

When support staff is unavailable and their colleagues are chronically absent, teachers’ abilities to teach well and to support students are negatively affected. Many of the teachers who remain in the profession have become overworked and overwhelmed. In situations where schools are understaffed, educators inevitably experience stress and burnout. 

A feeling of being unsafe in their schools is another reason that educators consider leaving the education field. School shootings and incidents of violence are top of mind for many educators; teachers are, after all, first responders in many of these incidents.

As reported by the National Education Association, a 2021 American Psychological Association poll found that one-third of surveyed teachers reported they experienced at least one incident of verbal and/or threatening violence from students (including verbal threats, cyberbullying, intimidation, and sexual harassment) and 29% reported at least one incident from a parent of a student.

As many as 14% percent of teachers said they had been victims of physical violence from students. These incidents negatively affect both educator safety and schools’ ability to recruit new teachers.

Teachers’ sense of safety is a primary determiner of their career choices. An April 2021 cross-national study on School Violence and Teacher Professional Engagement found that perceptions of student behavior and school safety are among the strongest predictors of teacher career decisions. Furthermore, the study asserts that teachers who worry about their safety are more likely to leave the teaching profession altogether.

The implications of this study are clear – when educators do not feel safe, teacher retention becomes a problem. Schools must address teachers’ safety concerns to retain staff members. Increased teacher retention, in turn, lessens the burden for the educators who remain in the profession. In this way, educator burnout can be directly tied to educators’ sense of safety at school.

Strategies to improve teacher retention 

To best educate and care for students, schools need to retain their teachers and staff. Ideally, students will be taught by people they know and trust. When teachers leave the profession in high numbers, these relationships are lost.

Many school districts are working to improve teacher retention by increasing educator salaries, changing their recruitment practices, and adding support staff to aid teachers. For example, the record-setting 2021–22 California state education budget includes considerable investments in building the educator pipeline and supporting the existing workforce.

Current research makes clear that schools that support their teachers—in the form of increased compensation, safety measures, and support staff—are more likely to keep their teachers. A positive school environment in which school policies and practices support educators and make them safer is key to teacher retention.

In an era in which so many factors make the job of educators truly challenging, schools and school districts can address teachers’ experience of burnout by investing in teachers and making them safer.

Safety solutions provide security for educators

Every school should seek to create a positive environment and culture where students can learn and thrive and teachers feel safe, supported, and empowered. In this kind of environment, teachers feel valued and are invested in their students and schools. Furthermore, ensuring that teachers feel supported and safe – particularly in the event of an emergency – is a vital component of teacher retention and recruitment.

According to Dr. Roderick “Rocky” Sams, Chief Development Officer at CENTEGIX and a former teacher and principal, this is a trend affecting schools nationwide: “Nobody is immune to this. In the current climate, school leaders must create an environment in which teachers feel safe. If you can’t guarantee their safety, they can’t effectively teach. That can determine whether they stay or go.” 

The CENTEGIX CrisisAlert badge is one very concrete way that schools and school districts can ensure that teachers feel supported and safe. The safety badge is worn along with an educator’s school ID and immediately summons assistance when needed. It provides a fast, discreet, and secure way to call for help from anywhere on campus.

Whether a teacher is alone in the classroom, intervening with a medical emergency, or trying to break up a conflict in the hallway, the CENTEGIX CrisisAlert badge is a security measure that immediately summons support staff to a teacher’s side to assist.

This security solution offers teachers concrete support during incidents both large and small; teachers who wear it are assured that they will not be alone when intervening in challenging or even dangerous situations.

The quick and discreet ability to call for help is an improvement over typical response tools. A panic button worn on a lanyard at all times guarantees that a teacher does not need to face crises alone. Traditional response tools take longer and are less reliable.

For example, if a student breaks their leg on the playground, the responding teacher most often must find another teacher or staff member to relay this information to administrators.

In this situation, who remains with the student? A CENTEGIX CrisisAlert badge would allow this teacher to remain with the student and call for help simply by pushing a button. In a classroom, traditional response tools require that a teacher divert their attention from an incident to use the intercom or their cell phone to call for help. This can lead to an escalation of the incident and an increase in critical response times.

With a wearable safety alert system, a teacher can discreetly and quickly call for help in any situation, from behavior incidents to medical events to threats or acts of violence. The CENTEGIX CrisisAlert badge supports teachers by ensuring they have access to help from other staff members at all times, and anywhere on campus.

Teacher turnover can harm student learning and achievement, diminish the quality of education, and discourage people from entering the profession in the first place. Foremost among the needs of teachers is the expectation that they work in a safe, supported environment in which they know they can get help when they need it.

Increased security measures, including the CENTEGIX CrisisAlert badge, are one concrete, effective way to improve teacher retention by creating just this kind of safe, supported environment. 

CENTEGIX is the leader in incident response solutions. Their CrisisAlert platform is the fastest and easiest way for staff to call for help in an emergency, from the everyday to the extreme.

CENTEGIX creates safer spaces by innovating technology to empower and protect people, and leaders nationwide trust our safety solutions to provide peace of mind. To learn more about how CENTEGIX can help you support your teachers and staff, visit