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Understanding the Impact of School Safety on the High School Transition Experience: From Etiology to Prevention

Award Information

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Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $849,281)

Research suggests the transition to high school is a critical event in the life course,with serious implications for mental health, school completion, and long-term economic well-being. This transition coincides with a peak in exposure to school and community violence, including polyvictimization (i.e., exposure to multiple forms of victimization/victimization across contexts). Little is known about how perceptions of school safety impact the transition experience, how students respond to the threat of victimization, and the factors that protect youth from the negative consequences associated with high crime communities. In collaboration with the University of Michigan School of Public Health and Flint Community Schools (FCS), we propose a multi-method (survey, interview, police data) study of the sources and consequences of school violence and victimization, especially through the transition to high school. This study will consist of two major data collection efforts: 1) a full population (N . approximately 1 ,400) survey of 7th through 1Oth grade students across 10 FCS (fall 2016)-which serves a primarily African American and poor population-that will identify the prevalence, sources, and correlates of student victimization, including the location and seriousness of violent events, explore the connections between school and community violence, and measure the degree to which students are exposed to school and community violence; and 2) a three-wave panel qualitative study of 100 students interviewed every 6 months beginning in the spring of their 8th grade year (spring 2017)and continuing through their 9th grade year. The primary focus of the interviews will be to further the research from the survey and develop an in-depth understanding of how school safety impacts the transition experience, the genesis of school violence, including how community conflict impacts school safety, and what youth do to protect themselves from school-related victimization. Both data collection efforts will be guided by resiliency theory, and how personal characteristics and community resources protect youth from the consequences of school and community violence. We will integrate crime incident data from the Flint Police Department, including geocoded events and detailed offender/victim/incident characteristics as a source for triangulation of findings. A community workgroup will provide guided translation of findings generated from mixed-methods analyses, and develop an action plan to help students successfully transition to high school. Results and policy implications will be disseminated to practitioner, researcher, and public audiences through written, oral, and web-based forums. De-identified data will be archived at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data.U.S.DepartmentofJustlce ----------------------------- This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 29, 2015