A number ofprog;r,ns ~L'ith cImpiri'cal evidcic' of
jffecti:'n;t.,ss in anhlressi;ng pr'ol/c.s of aggr ceis/in
and disruption have emerged in school.
Alternative strategies for school
J7setph C. Gagnon, Peter E. Lc'ne
TRAGIC SCHOOL SHOO I IN, .S of children by children have caused
parents, teachers, principals, and coTmmuInity members throughout
the nation to question their basic assumptions about school safety.
Schools should be nurturing environments prom voting children's
intellectual and social development, but disruptions that interfere
with learning can create a climate of fear in which children avoid
school or engage in self-protective behavior. Although shootings
with multiple kimt s represent an extreme example of school vio-
lence, these rare incidents have shaped much of the discussion
about howv to prevent violence and create safe schools.'
Many segments of the public believe that school violence is
increasing. The most current data on school violence and youth
victimization in the United States indicate, however, that schools
are the safest places for children and that serious acts of violence
have decreased since 1993.2 Fewer homicides and violent crimes
are committed against children at school than in their homes or on
the streets. In fact, students are more than forty times more likely
to be the victim of a homicide away from school than at school.
Most injuries that children experience at school are not violence
NEW DIRECTIONS FOR YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, NO. 92, WINTER 2001 � WILEY PERIODICALS, INC.
102 ZERO TOLERANCE
related, and the majority of school crime is theft, not assault.
Finally, data reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part
of the Uniform Crime Reports, as well as students' self-report of
victimization in the National Crime Victimiza.tion Surveys, indi-
cate that violence perpetrated by and against youth continues to
Assessing the effects of violence-prevention efforts
Measuring the efficacy of violence-pre' mention efforts is difficult.
The conceptualization and definition of school violence shape how
schools respond to the problem and measure prevention efforts.3
Depending on the definition of the term, acts of school - violence
can range from threats of physical violence, to bullying, physical
assaults, and homicide.
A\sscssing the impact of violence-prevention efforts requires data
on the current level of school violence. AMany of the data are based
on student and teacher perceptions of school safety, official police
reports, and telephone interviews of adolescents.4 Data-gathering
methods to assess school violence vary considerably, and perceived
violence is consistently reported at higher le\ els than self-reports
of violent incidents .5This is due, in part, to media reports of school
violence. For example, following the highly publicized shootings at
Columbine High School in 1999, public perceptions of the safety
of schools deteriorated markedly.' Reports of school safety are also
highly dependent on the group interested in studying the problem.
School administrators and school boards may not be interested in
tallying and publicizing all acts of school crime and disorder. His-
torically, school administrators have underreported and handled
serious acts of misconduct at school informally. In contrast, parents
and community groups may find this same information vital to their
support of schools and school leadership. In recent years, manda-
tory reporting requirements associated with the Drug Free and Safe
Schools Act have requi red great ter disclosure by the schools.
STRATE ,I . FOR VIOLENCE PREVI .N I ON 103
art Violekce prevention in context
of Dramiatic changes in public schools during the past decade have
di- affected the x ays in which schools respond to violence -and disrlup-
to tion. Among these changes are an increased focus on acc ,unt.abil-
ity, infi rimation tcchin 1ology, and achievement in the public schools.
Accountability and an emphasis on literacy for the information age
have created a greater sense of urgency among educai-or. Teach-
ers, principals, and superintendentss are being asked to measure and
demonstrate tangible academic gains in student performance.
tdt. As academic expectations have increased, there has been a
)w decrease in school tolerance for deviant behavior. In this high-
s.3 stakes climate, disrupt e students, particularly those who score
ce poorly on tests that mneasIure the performance of the classroom,
:al school, or school district, are at risk for being excluded from the
education community. Zero-tolerance policies nominally have been
ita created to provide better opportunities for other students to
ed achieve academic milestones by removing so-called troublemakers
ce from the school. By removing low-achieving disruptive students
ag from the schools, these policies may increase the likelihood that
ed average levels of student achievement will rise in order to meet
rts state or district standards.
so Effective prn:cticc
m. Zero-tolerance school policies have led to a more punitive
in approach to student behavior,7 focusing on a limited number of
is- reactive and punitive responses to problem behavior, including
ed office discipline referrals, in- and out-of-school suspension, and
its expulsion. Although these approaches may be perceived as provid-
ir ing iniunediate and short-term relief to teachers and adnmiistnratrors,
a- they fail to address the school struct-urcs and processes necessary
tfe for effective prev ent-ion of serious misconduct (see Chapters One
and Two, this issue).
'A: 104 ZERO T IA RA.-NCE
Fortunately, researchers and practitioners have identified and
M|4 assessed the efficacy of more positive and proactive approaches
to violence prevention These inte'ventih ns can be placed in three
categories: schoolwidie or universal intcrventi ons, student-centered
approaches, and school security measures. In the following sections,
we examine empirically validaLted and promising programs, school-
wide and student-centered interveniions. and school security
|il , mlea'ti rcs.
,' ',, ,Univerj'al inter'ventiolts
Schoolwide or universal interventions attempt to create school and
cla.ssrf:omi climates for all children that promote social and acaden-i-
ic gr i mth and a scin-e of community. These intervcntii ns endeavor
to create a culture within the school in which respect for the indi-
,|. vidual, predictability, and the perception of fair play shape the
behavior of teachers, st uden ts, and administrators.
Effective universal or schoolwide behavioral support relies on
development and implementation of a systematic approach to train-
ing, monitoring, and reinforcement of appropriate behavior.8 These
inter entions may exist as a component of a comprehensive school-
wide plan that addresses universal and individualized interventions
or as a more general program that attends solely to schoolwide
in te en tions. For example, the Res lvin-g Conflict Creatively Pro-
gram (RCCP) focuses solely on a schoolwide educational program
that teaches and reinforces appropriate social skills for all students
(although the RCCP is currently developing a component of the
program that targets high-risk students). The other two schoolwide
inter-entions prograins. Project ACHIEVE and Positive Behav-
ioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), also include plans for tar-
geting small groups of at-risk sRnuents and individual interventions
for youth who do not respond to more general interventions.
STRATEGIES FOR VIO1 FI (.I. PR '.P T I LON 105
nd Resolving Conflict C'nfatively Prog Wain
des This K-12 school-Lised intervention supports youth in the devel-
ree ,pmenit of social and cimotional skills necessary to decrease violence
red and prejudice, form relationships, and dex elop healthy lives.9
ins, RCCP is an example of a social-cognitive intervention in which
ol- students are taught conflict resolution through modeling, role play-
ity. ing, interviewing, and small group work. The fifty-one weekly
lessons are used to teach skills such as communication, listening,
self-expression, dealing with anger, conflict resolution, coopera-
tion, recognizing the N al.eI of diversity , and ciountering- bias.
Training is an essential component of the RCCP program.
Teachers receive training and ongoing support to facilitate their
integration of concepts and skills into the existing curriculum. In
nd addition, school administrators, support staff, and parents recei\ e
m- training in conflict resolution techniques c, insistent with those
ror imparted to teachers. A select group of student, receive peer mcdi-
di- ation training.
:he A comprehensive review of research revealed that the social-
ci',gnitive approach used within RCCP was effective for all age
on groups of students in reducing crime, antisociial behavior, and con-
in- duct problmslc.l10 Specifically related to RCCP, results were promis-
ese ing when the teachers received a moderate amount of training and
ol- assistance, covered half of the lesso-,n or more, and had a low num-
nms ber of peer mediators in their class." Students in these classes were
ide significantly less hostile Furthermore, student prosocial behavior
co- increased, as compared to students in classrooms where teachers
iln taught fewer RCCP lessons and relied on relatively more peer
nts mediators. Although the empirical support for peer mediation as
:he an effective strategy in isolation is ine-cunsistcnt, it may be more
ide effective when included as part of a multicomponent intervention
iv- such as RCCP. In addition, because there were fewer positive
ar- effect, for boys, yo-,unger children, and children in high-risk class-
)s rooms and neighbor, ,ods. supplementing RCCP with other effec-
tive interventions is advisable.
106 ZERO TOIL R \ N
Project ACHIE f E
Project ACHIEVE, a universal intervention for elementary and
middle schools, provides training to school personnel in six areas:
problem solving, social skills and behavior management, effective
teaching and instruction, curriculum-based assessment and acade-
mic interventions, parent education and training, and organiza-
tional planning, development, and evaluation. Preliminary
evalmutions of Project ACHIEVE are promising. Positive effects
include a 28 percent decrease in discipline referrals and a 6 percent
decrease in out-of-school suspensions. In addition, after three ) ea is,
the suspension rate decreased from 11 percent to 3 percent.12
Implementing Project ACHIEVE requires an initial anal\ sis of
school strengths and needs and a cchoolwide functional behavioral
assessment. This assessment includes an analysis of current disci-
pline procedures; student, teacher, and environmental characteris-
tics and issues; and available resources. The information obtained
from the assessment provides the basis for intervention planning.
In addition, the Project ACHIEVE model includes processes for
developing general hy potheses, collecting data, developing and
implementing the intervention, and evaluating the effectiveness of
the intervention based on the data.13
Project AClIEV\E has strong parent and teacher training com-
ponents. The goal of both is for students to be consistently exposed
to and use identified social skills and procedures for dealing w ith
conflict across a variety) of settings. The parent training program
provides instruction in effective tutoring, positive behavior man-
agement, and information on their child's curriculum. Parents are
provided opportunities to use this informati on within organized
classroom tutoring of their own and other children. Consulta nts
also assist parents in implementing these approaches at home.
Project ACHIEVE components target high-risk students and
others who require individualized interventions. Specifically, teach-
ers are trained to use data from curriculum-based measures to iden-
tify students who are at risk for failure or are achieving below
expectations. Based on the contexts in which these students ex-
STRATEGIES i >R VIOLENCE PREVENTION 107
perience academic or bch-aiovral difficulties, teacher, implement
ind specific instructional adaptations and lbechavioral supports. Such
:as: adaptations or interventions can be implemented with individuals
ive or small groups of students who are experiencing difficulties. For
de- example, if a strudent or group of students has difficuiry with home-
za- work, the teacher assssees the context of the student behavior to
ary identify if direct instruction of a specific skill would be appropriate
:cts or if students possess the needed skills and implementation of a
ent behavioral intervention is appropriate. Consultants provide ,sup-
ars, port to teachers with record keeping and data analysis to help assess
the effectiveness of the intervention.
)ral Positive BebavzioraI Inter'veintions afnd Supports
ci- PBI.IS, another univers:il prevention program, is designed for all stu-
ris- dents and includes setting (such as playground and lunchroom) and
ied classro(om-specific support for students who have chronic behavior
ng. pr()leiCms.14 Results of the PBIS model are promising, with a reduc-
for tion in office referrals ranging from 30 percent to 68 percent. Fur-
ind thermnore, these results have been maintained over several years
of with continued implementati on. To maintain positive results, ongo-
ing staff commitment and access to technical assistance and con-
'm- sultation from an outside source (a university) are important, as well
sed as regular leadership team meetings to review data on office disci-
ith pline referrals, identify behavioral patterns, and make data-driven
am decisions related to program modification.15
an- As with Project ACHIEVE, an initial step in this process is to
are identify issues unique to the school through a functional behavioral
red assessment. With the agreement and support of the principal and
nts at least 80 percent of the staff, a building-iased team is formed.
This team is responsible for the developmentt, implementation,
mnd modification, and evaluation of prevention efforts"'16 and bases its
ch- decisions on six central components of the PBIS model:
ow (a) an agrc,] upon and common approach to discipline; (b) a poitivcly
ex- stated -;tale nem of purpose; (c) a small number of positively stated
10, . .10 'f C C TO [ F I . \ .(.I"
expectations for all ruiJenrs and staff; (d) procedures for tachling these
cxpecta'Lion- to all .rtudlentst (e) a continuum of procedures for enci ur.lg-
. ing display- and maintenance of these expectations: (f) a continuum of
procedures for displays of rule-violating behavior; and (g) procedures for
iJ ji" in initt rirn. and evaluating the effectiveness of the discipline system on a
. r-guila: and frequent basis.17
SEffctive universal it-rvce nations
' Promising result exist for comprehensive prevention programs
that focus on uni\ ers.l interventions and also address the needs of
individual students with more serious behavior. RCCP, Project
ACHIEVE, and PBIS are based in part on the belief that school
,., discipline consists of more than establishing and enforcing rules by
reacting to inappropriate student behavior.18 Five critical compo-
;Ii; ; nents exist within the effective unix ersal interventions discusscd-
(1) schoolN ide fiHnctional beha vioral assessment or needs assess-
' ment and intervention planning; (2) teachers, admiiistratnr, and par-
ent support and education; (3) clear rules, consequences, and
conflict resolution and skills training for students; (4) effective
instruction; and (5) ongoing monitoring of student behavior and
As an initial step in developing a violence-prevencion pi-ogram.
RCCP, Project ACHIEVE, and PBIS include a form of schookiide
needs assessment and intervention planning. Understanding the
context in which behaviors occur prove\ ides the foundation for plan-
ning and implementing an appropriate prongrnam. In addition, Proj-
ect ACHIEVE and PBIS rely on a team-based approach to
problem identification and implementation of interventions. The
Project ACHIEVE model uses four teams: (1) a multidisciplinary
school staff team to complete the initial needs assessment; (2) a
; master teacher and classroom teacher team, whereby the master
i; teacher provides an instructional model and sl wly fades his or her
role in the classroom; (3) grade-level teams; and (4) a schoolwide
discipline committee comprising the grade-level team leaders.
Within the PBIS model, the leadership team co insists of teachers,
the principal, a parent, and another member of the school staff.
STRATEGIES FI 'K VIOLENCE P i.: \ -'VTION
ese The te.nm is expected to "ci induct instructional or em iron-iental
of nalyi, collect and analyze data, develop academic or social skills
for lcss( ,nl, and develop and make accommodations to �peciali/cd aca-
n a dcmic or behavioral support plans."19
These universal programs consistently address the issues of
teacher, administrator, and parent stupplort and education. For
exa-mple, Project ACH-IEVE and PBIS identify teacher participn-
ms ti in in the prevention interventions as critical. Although the RCCP
of program does not set a specific rate of teacher acceptance prior to
Ict implementation, the authors acknowledge the importance of
)ol teacher inm etnent in the progrmii. Once counmitmeni to program
by implemintatioii is acquired, cnmtinuei-1 support and education are
0- provided. Within the PBIS and RCCP models, outside consultants
,d: provide training and ongoing support. Existing sta ff provide the
ss- training and consultatiion within Project ACHIEVE. Also, all three
ir- programs adv(icate parent participation. Of particular note is Proj-
nd ect ACHIEVE, which includes both invol ement and training of
ve parents and school support staff (for example, pa raprofessional s,
nd custodians, and bus drivers).
Training and support of educators is accompanied by a school-
mn, wide focus on clear rules and consequences, and conflict res, Aution
de and skills training for students. This focus is significant, given that
he youth violence h.as been linked to a lack of social and problem-
n- solving skills.20 Experts agree that skills training is an effectix c alter-
>j- native to suspension and sends an appropriate message to students
to that they are wanted in school. In addition to teaching skills for
he negotiating nonviolent outcomes to conflict, youth are instructed
.ry in interpreting social cues and taking the perspective of others. Proj-
) a ect ACHIEVE and PBIS also emplhaize the importance of effec-
:er tive instruction as part of universal interveCntions. Within Project
ier ACHIEVE, teachers are trained and supervised in curriculum
de analysis, use of curriculum-based measures, and implementation
rs. of empirically validated instructional practices. Although no spe-
rs, cific component within PBIS addresses effective instruction, the
ff. program has been integrated into a schoolwide literacy model. In
/i: P. R TOLERANCE
Sadditiln, interventions such as direct instruct >n, use of manipula-
tives, peer collaboration, and other empi rically validated instruc-
" lti.inail practices have been included within the PBIS model.21
! Another important component that Project ACHIEVE, PBIS,
and RCCP share is the ongoing monitoring of student behavior
and outcomeics. Among the indicators used to identify student
progress are incidence of office discipline referrals, suspension
rates, student achievement, and special education referr-al and
placement. The use of empirical evidence accurately identifies stu-
dents who require individual as well as universal interventions.
This second group of interventions seeks to change the behavior
and school experiencLcs for specific students. Targeted interventions
1may provide special programs, classes, or schools for those who
have engaged in specific acts of misconduct or those most at risk
for engaging in antisocial and disruptive behavior. Interventions
aimed at individual students or groups of students can also teach
specific skills such as conflict resolution strategies or social skills.
Student-centered approaches focus on the 5 to 10 percent of the
student population who are at risk for disciplinary problems. These
students require' additional support beyond universal, school ide
plans.22 Schools must detect students at risk and identify those with
chronic behavior problems in order to provide appropriti.at and
effective interventions. Here we look at two central topics: the early
identification and detection of students and examples of two effec-
tive student-centered app roaches: Positive Adolescent Choices
Training (PACT) and First Step to Success.
Early identification and early detection
Implementing individual student intervention begins by identify-
ing students who do not respond to universal interventions. Esti-
mates are that approximately 40 percent of student discipline
referrals are given to 5 percent of the student population.23 Con-
STRATEGIES FOR VIOI..1- \ I', PR; V! NATION
ula- s e qu c i dtl y, re vw i e in g office referrals may be a method for i d e n t i-
rue- flying swadenCts who require additional interventions. At-risk stu-
dents might also be identified through analysis of attendance data,
31BIS, juvenile justice invoh ement, and direct odcrax-tin. This process
vior of establishing which students are not benefiting from universal
lent intervention is referred to as early identification.
don In contrast, early detection can be used prior to student mis-
and conduct and focuses on students who are at a high risk for violent
stu- and antisocial behavior. One effective e tool for early detection is the
Systematic Screening for Beh avior Disorders.24 This instrumen t,
which provides a multiple-step procedure for detecting st udents at
risk, includes an initial teacher refen-al process based on a review
of the behavior of every student in the classroom. Students are then
ranked b:ied on adaptive and maladaptive behavior and observa-
vior tion. Early detection is distinct from early identification in that
ions detection requires a systemat-ic screening to recognize the students
vho who are at high risk. In contrast, early identificati mn is an individ-
risk ual prevention pr< cess that considers which students have already
,ns experienced difficulties. Both approaches provide an effective sys-
ach tern of assessing students and deciding who may benefit from an
Ils. intervention beyond the schoo.lwvide plan.
the Early detection and identification are not simply steps toward
lese the identification of students in need of special cducatio n.25 Rather,
vide they are processes through which students can receive the supports
vith the) need to maintain positive social interactions.
wa- Positive Adolescent Choices Training (PACT)
fec- The PACT program, a cognitive-behbaioral inter" mention designed
ices to be sensitive to the cultural needs, of adolescent African Ameri-
can students who are at risk for violence, has helped to reduce
physical aggresion and adjudication for participating student-.26
The focus is on modeling appi-opriate behavior and instruction in
ify- problem-solving strategies and includes role pla iing and videotaped
5sti- vignettes that portray African Americans modeling specific skills.
line PACT is designed to provide participants with skills to resist vio-
,on- lence and negotia ie con flicts, such as giving and receiving positive
and negative feedback. resisting peer pressure, and problem solv-
ing. Students are tauglu methods for expressing difficult feelings
(anger, frustration, disappointment, and others) and appropriate
means of resolving conflicts. A third component of PACT, anger
: management, deals with recognition of anger, self-control, and
consideration of consequences to actions, and is designed to help
:iudenCs understand the co insequcnces of serious miscon dcit.
',' I First Step to Success
The First Step to Success program is a studcn i-centered approach
designed for students in kindergarten who exhibit aggressive or
defiant behavior. The program has shown significant positive
effeers Io) aggression, academic engagement time, adaptive, and
?li mala Nprix c behavior that have been mninatained ,v\cr time.27 The
program uses skills training and a reward s\sNien to teach and rein-
force positivC student behavior. Follow ing an initial identification
' '; process, consultants \ ork with teachers, parents, and students to
Scoordinac a program across school and home settings. The school
i ! pnr.gral colnists of a system of axw.rIng stLudents points at rcgu-
Slar interval for appropriate behavior. The home component
HI ;1' includess a child skills program with lessons on five .topics: self-
"io, expression,., developing self-con fidence, cooperation, sulving prob-
l ms, and interacting with others. Students are reinforced for
' psixive school behavior at both school and home.
IEffective targeted inttei'veIllioiis
..I targeted interve nations for violence prevention are those designed
for small groups of at-risk students or students who have been iden-
titled as not benefiting from universal interventions. The PACT
, and First Step to Success programs provide a snapshot of effective
intervent ions for small groups of students. Several commonalities
exist between these te o examples and the research on effective
interx entions for students requiring .support be) ond universal inter-
veenti ons. For example, both inclu.dCe component ts of cognitive-
behavioral and social-cognitive strategies, approaches that have
consistently resulted in positive student outcomes. Specifically, both
STRATEGIES FOR VIOLENCE PREVI- N I 1 (N
lIv- programs include instructing students on methods for solving prob-
igs lems, self-expressio n, and interctin g po ,siti- ely with others.
elp Intensive interventtions
Universal interventions and programs,, such as PACT and First
Step to Success, target small groups of students and may have a
positive impact on a majority of students. How ever, individual
tch hehavioril interveint-ion are necessary for 3 to 5 percent of the stu-
or dent population for whom inappropriate behax ior has become a
ive persistent problem. Two approaches that show some promise in
nd meeting the needs of these students are the use of functional behav-
'he ioral assessment and alternative educational progranls.
on Functional bebavioial assessment
to Functional behavioral assessment (FBA) is a process through which
)oi - a problem behavior is identified and clearly described. Direct
,u- observation and interviewing establish the contexts in which a
mnt behavior occurs and the consequences that maintain the behavior.28
If- Based on this information, individualized interventions can be
>b- implemented. For students receiving special education services, the
.or use of FBA is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Fduca-
tion Act when school pcrsr innel take actions that remove students
for more than ten days from their educational placement. Although
this is an effective use of FBA, to limit its implementation to pur-
ed poses of reaction reduces its possible benefits in the prevention of
n- student violence.
,T FBA has great potential as a proactive strategy. For example, it
ve is effective for nondisabled students and can be effectively blendled
ies with common classroom interventions.29 The PBIS model inte-
ve grates the use of FBA into the development of programs at the uni-
3r- versal and individual student levels. Extended training for all
e- teachers and a team-based approach to implementation may be
ve necessary for widespread and effective use of FBA. A review of cur-
,th rent research revealed that a validated FBA methodology does not
ZERO TOI F -P A-
: currently exist:; -io vcvr, procedural similarities do exist across
forms of FBA. Further research is needed to delineate specific pro-
P. cedures for effective use of this approach.
.. Alternative schools
A primary guide to the effectiveness of alternative programs is their
. ability to pr\ ide student participation in the general education cur-
riculum and, when appropriate, with support services and modifi-
cations.30 However, the tremendous variability in student
composition, structure, and purpose makes it difficult to det elop
any generalized statement on the effectiveness of these programs.
For example, alternative placements include schools within schools,
punitix e alternative placements that substitute for suspension or
| expulsion, continuation schools that students attend voluntarily
After lea ing the public schools, schools within the juvenile justice
system, and charter schools. In spite of this variability, alternative
progr:uns do appear to have a small but positive effect on student
:i1 , academic performancLe, attitude, and self-esteem.31 Furthermore,
alternative schools that serve a specific target population tend to
have a more significant effect on these variables. Two major con-
|I.: cerns with the alternative schools research exist, however: problems
with the quality of the studies (lack of a control group, random
Sampling, and follow\ %-up when students return to regular public
schools) and lack of positive effects noted on the delinquent b-hav-
ior of participants.
Because alternative schools are an option that many schools
employ, an examination of alternative settings and identification
of the common componiints associated with program success is jus-
;.. \tified. Clearl); elements of effective intervention at either the uni-
Svrsal and individual student level are relevant to effective vio lence
preventioLn in alternative settings. In addition, a number of crucial
Components to effective alternative placements have been iden-
(a) procedures for coinduting functional assessments of the skills and
e: ciarning needs of the students; (b) a flexible curriculum that teaches func-
S I R.\TE( ii I- i.: VIOLENCE PREVENTION 115
cross tional .icadmice, social and daily living skills; (c) effective and efficient
pro- instructional techniques; (d) n.itnsi,.m;i1a programs and procedures that tie
the alternative school to the public school and to the community; (e) com-
prehensive systems for providing both internal alternative school services
and external coi.1I1innitv services to snunJents: and (f) availability of appro-
their private staff and resources for students with disabilities.32
cur- Identification of critical characteristics for effective alternative
if-prorams is a positive starting point. Additional research is neces-
s.au-, however, to develop specific strategies and maximize the ben-
elop efit of alternative settings for students related to academic
MIns achievernent, serious misconduct, and attitude toward school.
n or Ejjfective intensive inttel 'venttions
irily Intensive interventions provide another level of support for stu-
;tice dents who do not benefit from universal intelventio ns or those that
ftive target small groups of student,. Although there is less empirical val-
lent idation of alternative schools and functional behavior assessment,
ore, individualization for students with severe and chronic behav i or
I to problems and the a analysis of the c)n texts in which behalf iors are
on- exhibited seems a promising approach.
School secitrily measures
,ols Implementing school security measures is another popular strategy
ion in the effort to prevent violence. This group of interventions is
us- J designed to detect and deter potential perpetrators of school vio-
ni- lence before they harm themselves or others. The use of metal
ace detectors, school security officers or school resource officerss, and
-ial surveillance cameras are all examples of school security measures
that have been introduced to prevent school violence. In contrast
to universal interventions and efforts focused on specific indi idlu-
als, these measures introduce into school settings techniques that
tnd are frequently associated with the anonymous control of individu-
ac- als in airports and prisons.
116 Z, -'O TOLERANCE
In 1999, the Office ofJustice Progranms of the U.S. Dcpartii-ent
of Justice isi.ued a report, The. lpppri,', Use of &Sciiity Technolo-
gies in U.S. Schools.33 While acknol edging that school security
measures arec not the .ins~w c to all problems associated with vio-
lence in the schools, the document makes an explicit aI lumplion
that security techno lgy, such as sunrveilIncc cameras and metal
Sdetectors, is an important compone-nt of a 'chi >ol ecuri-y plan.
SUnfri ,rtinatcly, although nman) school districts have purchal:.i
hard1x arc to detect weapons that could be Ir-,ught into school
buildings, there is little evidence that these iimeasures create safer
education en ironiinents. A site\ ide study in California reported
.:' that most school diitrrictl used violence-pre mention curricula and
Shad str, mng police and security. In addition n, schools reported using
u, irveillance c I.uer.is, canine searches, and metal detect,,ii. But the
majority of school di-trict, had no evidence uiipporting the effec-
' tixcnes, of these cff-orts.34 \n ethnographic ,rudy of efforts to sup-
.i; press gang activity) in three urban high schools examined the
effectiveness of metal detectors, su-rveillance c.amcras, perimeter
fencing, ald school security officerss. The evidence suggested that
these measures \ ere ineffective in suppre-sing gang activity and
student violence in the schools.35
An anal) sis of resp ,nses from ox er nine thi no~snd) L ut. from the
1995 National Crime Victiminiztion Sur cy examined students' per-
ception of school violence and disorder in schools with secure
buildings (that is, places that emlphaiized security) measures like
� metal detectors, locked doors, and personal searches), and schools
with a system of law (that is, schools where the rules xVere empha-
sized and the consequences of breaking the rules were known).
Findings suggest that when students know the rules and conse-
, quences for misbehavior and are aware that the rules in a school are
i applied fairly under the s) stemi of la;i. less victimization and disor-
der is present in the school. Where disorder exists, st-udtlents
reported engaging in more acts of self-protection. In contrast.
the more efforts taken to run a secure building through ph) sical
means. (metal detectors) and personnel interventions (school
. resource officers, staff watching hallways), the more victiminati(,n
STATE' 11 1, FOR VIOLENCE Pi' [\: \TION
ment and disorder (fights. thefts) were reported prciicnr, and the less safe
mnolo- students reported feeling.36
netal Identifying successful approaches
lased Table 4.1 provides examples of the three approaches to violence
hool prevention and compares the results of research in each of the
safer areas. This anal) sis of alternative strategies for school vio )lence pre-
)rted mention identified several feature of successful appro.hcies. Schools
I and that effectively present serious niic-onIduct have "policies (e.g.,
proactive discipline handbooks, procedural handbooks), structures
. the (e.g., behavioral support teams), and routines (e.g., opportunities
ffec- for students to learn expected behavior, staff development, data-
basedl decision maki ngt that pliromni te the identification, adoption,
Sthe implementation, and monitoring of research-validated practices
leter [emphasis added]."37 Finally, the link bertn cen academic achieve-
that ment and student hcha ior is clearly documented in the research.38
and T"getheir, these results indicate that the goal of violence-preven-
tion programs should be broadly conceived to include controlling
i the student behavior and supporting student academic success.
Several research-based recommendati- ons for effective violence
prevention in schools flow forum our review of literature:
:ha- * Clear rules and consequences: Clearly stated rules and conse-
wn). . quences for students, teachers, and administrat-ors are important
.se- components of effective universal intervene tions. The positi ve
[are effects on student behavior w hen teachers establish, teach, and
sor- reinforce rules have been well documented.
dical * Principal support: Administrative support is critical for success-
tool ful prevention programs. Evidence suggests that support should
don be visible, predictable, and continuous.
-3 b e Z
II .t . I
i',, Ji * o *�
- :: 0 *� 00 0
V' - � 05.(
i *;', "� - " bo '= o bo="
1; ~ ~ ~ .1 *� Siz^^l
!H . r|| ,',S 5 ,E
STRATEGIES FOR VIOLENCE PREVENTION 119
* Ongoing support to staff: Continuing access to qualified con-
sultants can assist educators in their attempts to implement pro-
cedures with a high level of fidelity.
* Parent and community imn -lvement across settings: Positive
results are obtained through extending school-based prevention
programs to a number of donmaiins of student life. Parents, and
other community members when\ er possible or appropriate,
are important in supporting prcventiin progt:ams.
* Needs asscssment and functional behax ioral assessment: The
needs and available resources of the school must be evaluated.
Furthermore, an assessment of the needs and values within the
community, school, teachers, and student con texts can be used
to develop procedure, anmd interventions that are socially and cul-
* Staff acceptance: Staff willingness to support and implement a
program is critical to its succeCs. Students show significantly
more improvement with teachers who implement a prevention
program consistently .
* Staff training: Critical components of a prevention plan can be
appropriately iinplenmented and maintained through compre-
hensive staff development.
* Conflict resolution and social skills training for students: Pro-
grams focusing on conflict resolution and social skills training
frequently use direct instruction, teacher and peer modeling, role
playing, and rehearsal to teach students. Programs focusing on
these aspects have consistently resulted in reduced inappropri-
ate behavior, increased student attendance, and short-term gains
in problem solving, particularly for younger and disadvantaged
children. Results of a recent meta-analysis indicate that social
skills training in isolation may have limited effects on students
with emotional and behavioral disorders.39 However, combining
schoolwide social skills training and targeted group behavioral
interventions has been successful in reducing inappropriate stu-
dent behavior in the lunchroom, on the playground, and during
[., 120 ZERO TOL I R NCE
* Prograni momit ring and effectix u implementation: Consistcnt
and high-quality plr Igranl iImplemrntitio n is es.ential. The qual-
ity of program implementation nay be more important than
whether a program was implemented. Quality prevention pro-
|grami-; arc increasingly using student ou-tcOilme data (office disci-
pline referrals, suIspenslion rates, student achievement and special
education rcfc-rral and placeinent) to monitri- program effec-
* i :
. Appr (iachcs to vi l)ILInc prevention 1 ,,ed on zero tolcralnce of pro-
' scrihld behaviors and removal of students from school settings are
,I.: at best short-term solutions. Youth suspended or expelled from
school, because of threats or acts of violence may need to be
removed from school for short periods of time. Yet I ong-term sus-
[, ,; pensions and expulsions merely transfer school problems, to the
h. C communityt. Without as distance and support, youth who need
behavioral interment ions and quality education programs becollme
prime candidates for the agency of last resort: the juvenile justice
ilsi: stem. Evidence suggests that the effective strategies to reduce
school violence involve -chooul ide strategies such as RCCP, Proj-
ect ACHIEVE, and PBIS. There is also evidence that individually
targeted interventions such as conflict resolution and social skills
PI instructi, �n. vsteimatic classroom management, parent ino1 Cement,
early warning and scrcningndand implementing indi idual behavior
plans are promising strategies for reducing school violence.
Schools should consider several principles when planning vio-
,' lence-prievention initiatives. First, school ide violence-prevention
initiatives based on a public health model are -ffecrive. Schoolwide
I.! interventions by de-ign systematically address the needs of all stu-
dents, including those with significant academic, emotional, or
behavioral problems. These approaIches typically include more
intensive intr-ventions for students with everc academic and social
STRATEGIES FOR VIOLENCE 1" F% I N .TION 121
stent needs. Second, alth( ,ugh the use of security technology may be
iual- pnlit ically popular and may convince the public that adinini- trtrs
than are addre.sing threats to the safety of the school, there is no
pro- evidence supporting the effcctix ene. of these appnr achie in pre-
lisci- venting school violence and o-ime evidence that the use of security
ecial technology may actually exaicerb.te school disorder. Third, effec-
Ffec- tive schoolwide prev. mention initiatives are comprehensive and mul-
ticomponcnt and provide a broad range of services and supports
over a sufficient period of time. Because the antecedents of youth
violence are highly correlated, prevent in pri-ngralns that addre,-, a
range of interrelated risk and pi-otu-rive factors have greater poten-
tial than single-foi:cus pr-,gramns.
'om 1. Sheley, J. F. (2000). Conitro, lin.i violence: \1aT.ir schools are doing. In S.
be G. KJIlam, R. Prinz, & J. F. lhcleJ- (Eds.), P,- c:,,;g school violence: -!c.,.!iy
sus- papers of the 1999 Conference on Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation-
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._ - tice Policy Institute; Kauffman, P., Chen, X,, Chi.y, S. P., Chl.mdl.-, K. A.,
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de 4. Louis Harris and \kssi calL.. (1999). The .1 i,-,plir,/;: Life survey of the
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122 ZERO TOLERANCE
5. Furlong' . M., & .M, rris, in, G. (1'"I 4). Introduction to miniseries: School
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Crosse, S. B., & Hantman, I. (2000). t'i..al study of delinquency prevention in
schools. Ellicott City, MD: Gottfredson A-,.o L-i..c ,; Nelson, C., Scott, T., &
Polsgrove, L. (1999). Perspectives on emotional/behavioral disorders: Assumptions
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ve L-ning school violence: The use of office discipline referrals to assess and
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9. About the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program. [On-line]. A\ ilabk:
www.esrnational.org/about- -Lrp.lhtml; Thointnii, T. N., Cr.ifi, C. A.,
Dhilecerg. L. L., Lynch, B. S. & Baer, K. (Eds.). (20ti,1. Best practices ofyouth
violence prevention: A sourcebook for community action. Atlanta, GA: Centers for
Disease Control and Prc eL-nti, 'n, National Center for Injury Prevention and
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resolution: An cff', f." c school-based approach to violence prevention. New York:
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.y:toin'. [On-line]. \:ail.]ble: www.coedu.usf.edu/projectachieve/; Knoff, H. \I.,
& IBatLhL, G. M. (1995). Project ACHIEVE: Analyzing a school reform
process for at-risk and underachieving students. School Pr.vdb::'v Review, 24,
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son, C. M., Scott, T., Liaupsin, C., Sai -.r, W., Turnbull, A. P., Turnbull, H.
R., Wickham, D., Reuf, M,., & Wiklo -., B. (2000). \Appl ing positive behav-
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14. For information on the P IS model, see D\'. c r, K., & Osher, D. (2000).
S, f",,..' ,ti.'i our children: An action guide. W:sh in gt, ii. DC: U.S. Department
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lor-Greene, S. J., & Kartub, D. T. (2i'il)). Durable implementation of
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16. Dwyer & Osher. i2I0).
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School 17. Schoolwide PBIS. [On-line]. .ailahbl: www.pbis.org/English/
18. Sugai, G. M., Kame'enui, E. J., Horner, R. H., & Simmon.,, D. C.
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"youth man, C. C. d r e-,ing student problem, behavior: Crea ting positive behav-
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23. Siigai et al. (2000).
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Nel- 26. For a discussion of PACT, see Haminnnd, W. R., Kadis, P., & Yung. B.
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32. Quinn & Rutherford. (1Wt ). p. 19.
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' ! '
, IP \TEGIES FOR VIOI. i .CE PREV ":, F iON 125
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ntion ders, 7, 54-64.
ning: Cj,,i.'IH c-. 1. ., ,v is a la.ictifal ,indi,,lit in the Department of Special
ilker, Education at the University fj l1la, ryland, College Park.
PETER E. LEONE is a professor in the Department of Sp.ci,d Ed, tini,, at
997: the University of Mi;3)1;l,, College Park.