Horrific events like the school shootings at Columbine and Sandy Hook have undoubtedly and understandably-shocked the nation. And yet stacked on top of these events is also the daily task facing school administrators of keeping youths safe from the full spectrum of forms of violence-including bullying and intimidation, harassment, fighting, and sexual assault-in the school environment. But creating effective, evidence-based policies to address violence in school would first require knowing what the sources-or what might be termed the "root causes"-of school violence are. After decades of empirical research on the subject, it is important that we firmly determine what this literature shows are the important individual, institutional (i.e., school), and community-level sources of violence at school. Accordingly, the purpose of the proposed study will be to subject the body of empirical literature on school violence to a meta-analysis to determine the key individual-, school-, and community-level factors that substantially influence violence in school. The primary goals of the proposed meta-analysis are to inform school violence research and evidence-based policies by: (1) organizing the existing empirical knowledge base regarding school violence; and (2) identifying the key individual-, school-, and community-level factors that should be targeted for change and/or intervention to reduce school violence. In carrying out this meta-analysis, the proposed research seeks to achieve the following three objectives: (1) to determine which individual-level factors are most salient in predicting which youth are most at risk for experiencing violence at school in terms of both offending and victimization., (2) to determine which school-level factors influence the likelihood that a student will either offend or will be victimized at school, and (3) since schools are also embedded in a community context, we will also determine which community-level factors are most strongly associated with higher likelihood that youth will either offend or will be victimized at school. Contemporary meta-analytic methods will be employed to analyze data that will be arranged in a three-level hierarchical structure (effect size estimates nested within studies, which are nested within data sets). In addition to a final report to NIJ, we anticipate paper presentations at national conferences, a webinar to disseminate our results online, and multiple articles to be submitted to peer-reviewed criminal justice and criminology journals.
Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.