Using data from students in eight schools across one urban school district in the northeast United States, this study examined within-school differences in the relationships among student-level indicators of victimization, school climate, and academic outcomes, with an exploratory focus on interactions of school climate with victimization in predicting different academic outcomes.
Research suggests that parents and principals perceive school shootings as one of the leading threats to school safety and among the most likely hazardous events that would affect safety at school; however, exposure to nonfatal victimization - such as fighting, threats, theft, vandalism, bullying, hate crimes, and gang activity - has become far more common in today's schools. The findings of this study suggest student victimization was negatively associated with school connectedness (Engagement); however, students who reported feeling more connected to their school had significantly higher attendance rates, reported less victimization, and improved academic performance. Results also indicated that students' connectedness impacted the relationship between victimization and academic performance; the association between victimization and academic performance was positive for students who felt less connected to their school, and negative for students who reported more connection to their school. Findings are discussed within the context of promoting student access to and engagement in targeted behavioral supports and interventions. (publisher abstract modified)