Using a multi-systems approach, this study examined the root causes of school violence.
The study focused on 10 years/15 cohorts of longitudinal data obtained from Oregon’s Department of Education, Juvenile Justice System, Health Authority, and Department of Human Services (DHS). The data analysis sought to determine 1) the root causes of school violence; 2) school disciplinary response to the threat of school violence; 3) the sequence of events from a school-related disciplinary incident to court involvement and disposition; and 4) responses to and consequences of shootings in K-12 public schools. All models of data analysis controlled for children’s and youth’s gender, race/ethnicity, poverty, special-education status, and English language proficiency. Analyses tested the proposed hypotheses for each outcome variable in a separate model and in a combined model of total school violent behavior, and all models examined whether the key observed effects were moderated by grade. The study identified contextual and individual characteristics that contribute to school violence through the middle school years, which is a peak time of transition and risk for increasing problem behavioral patterns in school transitions. The study also determined patterns of exclusionary school disciplinary practices that contribute to youth involvement in the juvenile justice system; and it identified rates of suspensions, expulsions, and court adjudications across subgroups of students throughout policy changes in Oregon. In addition, the study addressed adverse childhood experiences that involved placement within the foster care system and the relationship to problem behavior and juvenile justice involvement. School safety measures and policies intended to prevent violence are reviewed, and implications are drawn for criminal justice policy and practice in the United States. Extensive tables and figures