National Education Safety and Security Initiative (NESSI)

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From Beslan, Sandy Hook and Parkland, to the dozens of schools under lockdown each day in America, the ubiquity of school-based violence causes profound harm to children, families and communities globally. It imperils lives, impairs psychological health, drains resources and teaching from schools, reduces campus morale, and produces unsafe environments. Schools are also highly vulnerable to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, cyber-attacks, and other threats to safety and security.

Utilizing an all hazards, comprehensive, integrative and whole of community approach, UCLA’s National Education Safety and Security Initiative, NESSI, aims to maximize and increase public health through violence and harm prevention, response and recovery in all segments of the educational system, including: preK-12, colleges and universities, vocational institutions, private schools, as well as faith based institutions. NESSI is a multi-disciplinary approach to preventing school violence and harm through research, policy, instruction and operational response.


School violence, safety and protecting U.S. schools are greatly expanding areas of federal research. In 2015, we saw multiple grant solicitations on school violence prevention from the National Institute of Justice, Department of Education, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, SAMHSA, NIDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters is conducting research on campus active shooters that is funded by the Department of Homeland Security. Also, research on community health, social networks, big data, and cyber-security are important to school safety and are priority areas for research funding.

School Assessments and Training

NESSI provides assessments and trainings to improve school safety and security. This is accomplished by adapting and customizing DHS critical infrastructure protection programs, methodologies, training courses and identifying local best practices to serve the unique environments of educational institutions.

2017 UPDATE: Courses are now being offered through UCLA Extension. For more information on the School Security Series Curriculum, please visit their website

On March 29, 2016, NESSI partners, public health and safety officials gathered at the UCLA James West Alumni Center to officially launch NESSI. See pictures on Flickr and Facebook.


Our partners

Department of Homeland Security|UCLA Extension


 group pic 1

NESSI Grand Opening - March 29, 2016