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Preventing School Violence: Plenary Papers of the 1999 Conference on Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation--Enhancing Policy and Practice Through Research, Volume 2

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2000
64 pages
Publication Series
Three plenary papers of the 1999 Conference on Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation -- Enhancing Policy and Practice Through Research focus on what is being done and what can be done to prevent violence in schools.
All three papers advise that policy grounded in research promises to be most effective if it draws on expertise in a range of disciplines. A sociologist who has written extensively on the explosive nexus of youth, violence, and firearms, first puts school violence in perspective by showing that it occurs much less often than in communities where students live, but that, on the other hand, weapons carrying by youth is not uncommon, and guns are easy to obtain. An important research finding noted is that the prime motive for youth to obtain and carry weapons is fear. Schools are taking steps to lower the risk of weapon-related incidents, but whether they are choosing techniques that have a proven record of success is not currently known. Another paper offers the insights of psychology, as the author argues that because problem behavior stems from prior maladjustment, prevention must be considered from a "developmental" perspective by analyzing what causes the problem behavior. Prevention requires understanding and changing social environments more than it involves targeting specific individuals. In the third paper, a public health psychiatrist uses his decades-long work in Chicago and Baltimore to illustrate the imperative of community involvement in designing prevention programs. The concluding section of this report outlines what the Federal Government is doing to help prevent violence in schools.

Date Published: May 1, 2000