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Navigating Get-Tough and Support-Oriented Philosophies for Improving School Safety: Insights From School Administrators and School Safety Staff

NCJ Number
American Journal of Criminal Justice Dated: First Online: November 2018 Pages: 1-22
Date Published
November 2018
22 pages

This article presents findings from interviews with school principals, assistant principals, discipline coordinators, police, and district leaders, in order to determine how schools address the implementation of two competing school safety philosophies - one that implements "get-tough" disciplinary responses to student misbehavior, and a supportive policy that addresses the causes of student problem behaviors. Implications for theory, research, and policy are discussed.


U.S. schools are increasingly faced with the challenge of navigating two seemingly contradictory approaches to school safety. On one hand, they attempt to make schools safer by using get-tough, punishment-oriented policies. On the other hand, schools promote support-oriented policies that aim to address the root causes of students' behavioral issues. Despite significant advances in research on school safety, little is known about how schools balance the implementation of these two approaches. Implications for therapy, research, and policy are discussed. 84 references (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: November 1, 2018