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Multi-Component Efforts to Improve School Safety - Breakout Session, NIJ Virtual Conference on School Safety

On February 16-18, 2021, the National Institute of Justice hosted the Virtual Conference on School Safety: Bridging Research to Practice to Safeguard Our Schools. This video includes the following presentations: 

Exploring the Relationship Between School Climate and Safety: Restorative Justice and PBIS, Troy Smith, Karen Crews, Sean Kelly

Recent research has identified concerns about traditional, exclusionary approaches to school discipline, including negative impacts, lack of positive impacts, and racially disproportionate use of suspensions and expulsions. To address these concerns, K-12 teachers, and school and district leaders have turned to positive approaches to school discipline. RAND and Montgomery County Public Schools partnered together to test the effectiveness of two approaches: Restorative Justice (RJ) and School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SW-PBIS). These programs are increasingly being used together and there are theoretical reasons to believe that there are complementarities that make the combination more effective than either program alone. However, there has been no rigorous research to evaluate the effectiveness of SW-PBIS+RJ on school climate and safety. In this study, 23 schools that were implementing SW-PBIS were randomized to either continue with SW-PBIS only or to also introduce RJ practices along with SW-PBIS. An additional 20 schools that were doing neither approach were randomly assigned to continue their traditional disciplinary approach or to introduce both SW-PBIS and RJ together. Using qualitative and quantitative data, the study examines the implementation, impact, and cost-effectiveness of the two programs in combination. NIJ provided funding and implementation was scheduled to last two years.

The Causes and Consequences of School Violence: The Impact of Social Media on Delinquency, Timothy McCuddy

The UMSL CSSI is a multi-year study that investigates the causes and consequences of school violence as well as factors contributing to safe learning environments. In total, the project includes three annual surveys of students, two surveys of school personnel, 197 semi-structured interviews, and 37 in-depth interviews across six school districts in St. Louis County. These data address a number of areas related to patterns of school violence, with an emphasis on the identification of correlates via multiple sources. After proving a brief overview of this project, the presentation will focus on a specific set of findings related to the timely issue of students' use of social media and the impact of online peers. In particular, I discuss findings related to 1) the influence of online peers, 2) gang members' use of social media, and 3) the intersection between cyberbullying and school bullying victimization.

Suspension Diversion and Gang Prevention: Taking a Comprehensive Approach to School Safety, Stephanie Hawkins

Suspension and expulsion are common responses for students that violate school discipline policies, yet these practices are not effective in meeting the needs of students. In fact, these practices may exacerbate the very problems they are attempting to reduce. The objective of the Shelby County Comprehensive School Safety Initiative is to evaluate school safety strategies designed to reduce violence and misbehavior of students while minimizing the severity of negative outcomes. This presentation describes how the perceptions of safety changed within the Shelby County School District when they shifted their diversion and gang intervention efforts from high schools to middle schools.

Date Published: February 16, 2021