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UMSL Comprehensive School Safety Initiative

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $1,603,690)

The most common forms of school victimization include minor theft, bullying, and minor
assault. While “minor” in the eyes of the law, these victimizations have serious short- and longterm
consequences for the victim as well as the overall school climate. The proposed research
seeks to enhance scientific knowledge about the root causes, characteristics, and consequences of
school violence by combining existing data from the NIJ-funded evaluation of the GREAT
program (conducted beginning in 2006 in 31 middle schools in 7 cities across the US), with a
new three wave panel survey study of approximately 4,000 7th and 8th grade students attending
the same schools that participated in the GREAT study. Leveraging the GREAT data by
utilizing some components of the original survey with newly collected data from the same
middle schools will allow us to explore both long-term (ten-year) and short-term (three-year)
patterns of a wide range of correlates of school violence. The questions included in the GREAT
survey will be supplemented with new measures focused more on understanding nuances of
individual, situational, and school factors associated with school safety, including bullying and
Our study will include in-person interviews with a subsample of students thereby
allowing for more detailed information about the situational factors associated with school
violence. Parents of this subsample will be interviewed to provide family-level context.
Personnel in participating schools will complete a school climate questionnaire. Thus, our unique
research proposal draws on the theoretically-driven design of the GREAT surveys while
incorporating a mixed-method approach to allow for a comprehensive and innovative
triangulation of key data from students, parents, and school personnel. To maximize
demographic variability and study generalizability, we anticipate including four of the diverse
settings of the original GREAT evaluation. Key partnerships include the school district in each
Analytic techniques that account for individuals nested in schools and individuals nested
in time will be employed. These analyses will assess the correlates of school violence, examine
whether the effects of the correlates of school violence differ between middle school and high
school, and descriptively map changes over the past decade regarding school violence including
its prevalence and correlates, school climate, and disciplinary practices.
Policy implications and plans for dissemination are integral aspects of our overall
proposed design. NIJ and the participating school districts and schools will be informed via
interim reports, presentations at professional conferences, and production of webinars on specific topics.

This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.


Date Created: September 30, 2015