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Assessing a School Justice and Behavioral Health Collaborative Approach to Improving School Safety

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2021
20 pages

The purpose of this study was to expand the evidence base on approaches to improve school safety based on the School Responder Model (SRM) and Adolescent Mental Health Training of School Resource Officers and Educators (AMHT), and emphasize improved outcomes for students, particularly those with behavioral health


This study was supported by an Advisory Committee composed of national and local experts in schools, justice, and mental health response models. A research team provided leadership and worked with the high schools implementing the SRM. The study was implemented in partnership with 16 high schools in a southeastern state. All the schools were located within suburban or urban settings, and nearly all the participating schools served a significant population of economically disadvantaged students. Findings pertain to 1) the importance of School Resource Officer (SRO) and school administrator collaboration; 2) no clear path to improved SRO tactics; 3) fewer juvenile justice outcomes with disciplinary declines in schools; 4) variable availability in the local behavioral health services; 5) existing school-community partnerships supported program implementation; and 6) high turnover in SROs among schools hampered program implementation.

Date Published: December 1, 2021