School Transitions and Student Responses to Victimization - 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:
Student Perceptions of School Safety and the Transition to a New School: Is there a Honeymoon Effect?, Dan Abad and Chris Melde
School transitions represent a salient event in a student's life with negative experiences often associated with the change. Student concerns with their safety is a noted issue faced by youth as they enter a new school. The current study examines three waves of panel qualitative data gathered from 60 students before, during, and at the end of their transition from elementary to middle and high schools in a high-risk context. Results suggest student perceptions of safety are consistent with what is known as a "honeymoon effect," where noted problems are temporarily reinterpreted in a positive manner, only to be experienced in more negative ways over time. Implications for the honeymoon effect on student perceptions of safety are discussed.
School Transition and School Violence: Longitudinal Research in Oregon Emma Espel Villarreal, Paul Smokowski and Julia Dmitrieva
This study employed a multi-systems approach to understanding the root causes of school violence. Quantitative analyses utilized longitudinal data from multiple agencies in the state of Oregon from 2004/05 to 2012/13. Qualitative thematic analyses examined the extant research literature on school violence. The study was designed to examine root causes and related factors contributing to school violence, disciplinary responses, and the factors related to school-to-prison pipeline. This session will provide an overview of the study and findings that highlight the deleterious effects of transitions to middle school and early school disciplinary actions such as suspensions, and identified promising school safety strategies.
“I felt like a hero” Ethnically Diverse Teens Talk About Revenge & Resolving Conflicts, Karin Frey and Adaurennaya C. Onyewuenyi
Daily routines and social interactions as contexts for school violence: a qualitative study, Bernadette Hohl
School violence is a major public health concern; disruptive to the educational environment and associated with negative mental health, school performance, and delinquency outcomes. The purpose of our analysis was to understand how students’ daily routines and social interactions influence risk of violence with the goal of informing intervention. As part of a large-scale, mixed-methods study we conducted semi-structured interviews (n=56) with 12-18 years old who lived/went to school in Philadelphia, PA, and were involved (victim/perpetrator) in a violent school-related assault in the six months prior to their interview. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and entered into NVivo 12 for coding and analysis. Using a modified grounded theory approach, we developed a codebook matching common themes identified in the interviews. Results suggest school-related violence is infrequently a random act; instead there was usually a precipitating event, and these incidents almost always involved people who knew each other. Important emerging themes included: opportunities to intervene; role of adults and peers in encouraging/discouraging violence; varied attitudes towards school supervision; role of social media; and presence of trauma and importance of emotion regulation. Social environment was considered in the context of the physical environment to enhance the meaning of place. School violence occurs with some regularity, and violent acts or incidents are often the final culminating events, offering several areas of modifiable factors for intervention leading up to the incident. Findings from this study lend important insights for to reduce school violence and will inform training and policy recommendations at the local level which can also be adapted nationwide in similar settings.
>> All right.
Can everyone see my screen okay? >> Yeah.
>> All right.
>> So are you ready for my introductions? >> Yeah.
I'm so glad to see everyone here today at the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative Conference.
We are carrying it out virtually, and I think it's going to be a really great conference.
Today's session for this breakout is school transitions and student responses to victimization.
My name is Barbara Tatem Kelley, and I'm a social science research analyst with the National Institute of Justice.
My primary interests are in adolescent development and its relationship to victimization, delinquency prevention, juvenile justice system improvement, mental health and education.
In this session, we have four presentations, and then the remaining time at the end of the session we will spend answering questions from the attendees.
In order to ask a question, since you are going to be muted throughout this presentation, please enter your question into the Q and A section of the screen.
This looks to be a fascinating session, bringing together presenters with a wide range of expertise on the root causes and prevention of youth violence and victimization and school disciplinary responses, and our panelists bring diverse perspectives, including criminology and public health.
Our first presentation today is by Dan Abad and Chris Melde, both at the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University.
I'm really interested in hearing about this presentation, which focuses on student perceptions of school safety at the times of key transitions to new schools.
I taught special education, self-contained classroom for students with mental illness and different types of emotional disabilities for 3 years, and I taught sixth graders.
All of them had to transition from sixth grade to middle school, and so I saw the anxiety before, during and after that particular process.
These were special needs students, but at the same time, every student has its own special needs.
So now, I turn it over to Dan and Chris to do their presentation and share with us their findings.
>> Thank you so much.
So my name is Daniel Abad, and I'll be presenting today our paper on "Student Perceptions of School Safety and the Transition to a New School: Is there a Honeymoon Effect?" A quick disclaimer that the opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed today don't necessarily reflect the views of the DOJ or the participating school districts from the project.
A quick outline, I'll start with some school transitions research to get us started, get into the specific of our data source, go over our current study, analysis and then end with a quick discussion to wrap up.
So previous research indicates that one of the most important transitions youth encounter as they move to from elementary schools into middle schools and high schools, this is an extremely important time in their lives.
Students often experience academic difficulties, including lower grades and test scores, psychological distress, including depression, anxiety and/or loneliness, as well as changes in friendship and per associations.
This can be things such as making new friends, dealing with older peers in the school environment or losing connections with old friends from elementary school.
Students also often changes in perceptions of school safety and victimization experiences during this time in their lives.
Also, these findings are often exacerbated for youth who come from disadvantaged urban communities.
So it is important we understand and study them thoroughly.
So previous quantitative research focus on the outcomes associated with school transitions.
However, there is limited qualitative panel research in this area, focusing instead on the process of transitioning schools and the lived experiences of youth across this time, and that's where this really paper fills the gap in the literature, right? We want to focus instead on how students experience the school transitions, as well as the things that they are concerned about over time as they go through this process.
So our current study examined a few different research questions.
First, we wanted to examine how do students describe their new schools before, immediately after and 1-year post-transition across this entire process.
Also, we wanted to look at how do safety and security concerns change over the transition process, and what impacts students along the way, and then lastly, we wanted to do what can we learn from the emergent themes associated with individual student transition experiences to see if these general patterns and themes that emerged in our data also was reflected in individual student experiences as they went through this process.
So the data for this paper and this presentation came from the Safe School Transitions Study.
This was a mixed method, longitudinal study that occurred in the Flint, Michigan, area.
For those of you not familiar with Flint, Flint has dealt with a variety of crime problems, economic issues, public health issues as well as safety concerns, and this has greatly impacted their schools and their school districts.
The Flint Community School District where this project took place has experienced numerous changes, including staff turnover, changes in administration as well as school closings within the district.
At the time of the project, there was only one remaining public high school open in the Flint Community School District, and this high school in the area accepts students from grades seven through 12, which means that oftentimes in community, students transition directly from elementary school into a high school environment, making a unique setting to conduct a project like this.
Also, other schools in the area have been closing over the past few years, and this is reflective of the overall trend in the Flint area, with people fleeing the area for other locations in the area.
So again, there's a lot of issues going on with Flint, and it's really impacted their school system as a result.
The project itself, like I said, was a mixed-method project.
We initially conducted a survey of 302 students in the schools.
This was done at the baseline, and then, students who were eligible for phase two of the project, which was the interview phase...
In order to eligible to participate, students needed to be in the last year of their elementary school, getting ready to transition to a new school the following academic year.
In total, 93 students were eligible to participate in this aspect of the project, with us conducting interviews 91 at wave one, 64 at wave two and 63 at wave three.
The reason for the dramatic change between wave one and wave two was once students transition from elementary schools to new schools, some students ended up leaving the school district or leaving the area altogether, so those students were unable to be located post-transition.
In all, students encompassed grades five through nine across various elementary, middle schools and high schools in the area.
Like I mentioned, this is a qualitative study, so we focused solely on the qualitative interviews from the project.
Those wave-one interviews occurred pre-transition in May and June, while students were still at elementary school.
Wave two occurred during this initial transition period, which were mainly done in October of the following academic year, and then wave three was at the end of that first year in their new school environment, again, in May or June mostly.
Sixty students participated in all three waves of the interviews, spread across seven elementary schools at wave one, with the majority of students transitioning to that lone remaining public high school at wave two, given the restrictions of the district.
So initially, we looked at what do students think about their school, and at wave one, when students were in elementary schools, most of them had positive responses when talking about their schools, and there's a few quotes there that illustrate these different responses that students gave to us.
Also, we were very interested in what expectations do students have for the school that they will be attending the following year, given that we were really interested in following students across their transition experiences.
For the students' transition to the Flint High School, some of the students had positive expectations, relying on looking forward to being with some friends or cousins, other family members that were already at the school, as well as they heard some positive things about the teachers and those sorts of things.
However, many students had negative expectations for the school pre-transition, and this stems from the fact that the public high school in the area does have a reputation for dealing with violence, chaos and some other concerns like that, and a lot of students were well aware of these pre-transition.
As for the students transitioning to other schools, many of them had positive expectations, mainly because they weren't transitioning to that Flint Public High School.
At wave two, during this initial follow-up period, surprisingly we found that in Flint High School, most of the students had a very overwhelmingly positive description of their new school environment, with only two students focusing solely on the negatives, and this was different than what we expected, given that pre-transition interview process, as well as the, again, reputation of that school in the community.
However, this was a really interesting finding that we wanted to kind of dig deeper into as well.
As you can see in the other schools, students mainly positive expectations, and they met those expectations when they initially transitioned to those new school environments.
However, by wave three, when we asked students, "What do you think about your school," we saw kind of a trend back down towards students talking more about the negative aspects of their schools.
So again, at wave two, they were really able to focus in on maybe a teacher or making some new friends or other things about the school they really liked, but by wave three, they focused in more again on these negative aspects of their school environment.
These included things such as fights, bullying, arguments, drama, there not being enough teachers in classrooms, all those types of things so really a change over time as these students progressed to their transition experience, and they really reflected that back to us in the interview process.
As you can see in those other schools, students still remain very positive about their school, remaining pretty consistent across the entire project.
We were also very interested in seeing if students thought their school was a safe place.
While students were in elementary schools at wave one, the vast majority of students said that their school was very safe, and this reflects again the data information that they gave to us in various other aspects of the project.
These elementary schools didn't deal with as many issues as the high schools and middle schools in the area, as well as the frequency with which they occurred was much less.
However, interestingly in wave two, when students were in that initial transition period when they went to high school or those other schools, students still said that they felt very safe while they were at school.
When they transitioned to the Flint High School, students tended to rely on security guards, police officers and metal detectors as concrete examples of things that made them feel safe at school.
Now, this doesn't mean that they didn't witness or recognize the violence, the bullying, the fights that were happening at the school because at wave two during this initial period, those were still reported to us by the students in the project.
However, they felt safe in their environment because they were able to rely on these specific things that they were seeing when they were at their school.
We also asked students, "Is your new school more or less safe than the school you went to last year?" at wave two, right? So we're comparing their new school environment to that elementary school that they went to previously, and even though, again, we know that there's more fights, there's more arguments, there's more bullying, there's more of this violence going on in these schools, students overwhelmingly said they felt more safe in their new school environment at wave two.
However, by wave three, the student reports back to us started to change once again.
Students had relied on those measures of feeling safe in school in wave two, but by wave three, those were seen as ineffective or not doing a good enough job of keeping them safe, right? Metal detectors, they saw students being able to get items past the metal detectors.
Security guards can maybe break up a fight, but they weren't doing a good job of preventing them from happening.
Students at wave three really had to deal with the reality of their situations, and the responses back to us indicated that.
Interestingly, when comparing this with other schools in the area, they remained relatively constant and stable over time against students who felt very safe at wave two in those schools, and that continued into wave three as well.
So now, I want to get into some individual transitions to see, again, if these emergent themes from the project held true for specific students as well.
It's kind of building onto the data that we were collecting.
So Alexis here, she started in one of the elementary schools in the area and transitioned to that Flint High School that was opened, and at wave one when she was in elementary school, she kind of had negative expectations for the school the following year, while she was going through that transition process, right? She had heard it was very loud and chaotic and that there was hall sweeps and all these things that were going on from a cousin that had told her about these things.
However, when Alexis initially transitioned into the school, she actually gave a response back to us that was a little bit unexpected.
She said, "I thought it was going to be a lot worse than it actually is.
There's not as much violence as I was expecting, and there's thing about the school here that are really positive." So again, during this initial transition window, she really focused on the positives of the school and was really experiencing that transition in a positive manner.
However, by wave three, her responses back to us again changed, more accurately reflecting what she had expected and experienced over that entire first year post-transition, right? As you can see from this quote from her for her interview, "I thought it was going to be worse because everybody overexaggerated the school, but when I first came here, it was nice then.
However, as the years started rolling by, I started to see what everybody was talking about," right? So she was no longer in this period of time when she was maybe viewing the school in a positive way and focusing in on the things she liked about her new school.
She really had to deal with the reality of this new school environment.
A similar transition process was experienced by Kevin.
He went to a different elementary school in the area, but still transitioned to that main high school that was still open.
In pre-transition, he actually had a positive expectation for the high school, right? He heard it was a good school, that the teachers are nice, and they help their students learn.
So he was actually looking forward to attending the school the next year.
During that initial transition period, he said it was a great school, and that he was making new friends like he wasn't last year, and that some days, he just never felt like going home.
So clearly, during this initial period, Kevin was doing really well in that school environment.
He was focusing in on the positives, and even though he was maybe witnessing some fights or some arguments, those weren't enough to really impact him on a daily basis.
However, by the end of that first year, Kevin's tone and response back to us really did change dramatically.
He said the school has a lot of kids in it, to the point where you can't even walk through the hallways without somebody running into someone, right? There's too much chaos.
There's too many things going on that he sees on a daily basis that really impacted his view and his process of transitioning schools.
It worries him to be in this school and for real, he doesn't even feel like coming back to this school the following year, and this is important because in the initial transition window, Kevin didn't want to leave the school.
He loved it so much, yet by the end of that first year, his thoughts had changed so much that he didn't even want to come back to the school the next year.
So what does this mean? It means that the lived experiences and descriptions provided by the students in this study suggest that an initial transition period made them feel safe and secure, even though that they were witnessing all these fights, arguments and other problems happening at the school on a regular basis, right? They were able to kind of overlook those or find ways to deal with those in ways that allowed them to still feel okay in their new school and want to be in that school moving forward.
However, by the end of that first year post-transition at the wave three follow-ups, we really saw many changes in the way students talked about these things, and they could no longer ignore the incidents and could not solely focus on the positive aspects of their new school environment, and this suggests that a potential honeymoon effect was detected by us in this project here.
So what is as honeymoon effect, and where has it been studied, and why is it maybe relevant here? So the honeymoon effect has been studied in a variety of contexts, including starting a new job, entering a new dating or marriage relationship, as well as people moving to new countries or a new location within the US, let's say, and the hallmarks of a honeymoon effect or honeymoon phase is that during this time, people focus on the positive aspects of their new environment or a new relationship, right? They're intrigued by the differences in maybe the culture of the new place they're going to, or they grasp onto one aspect of a relational partner that they can really see as a positive, right? They think that maybe they're really funny, or they're really creative, and they really rely on that.
Any negatives that's they encounter during this initial phase are really kind of either ignored or minimized, right? A red flag in a relationship and a dating partner maybe may not be kind of focused in on so much in the early part of a relationship, or maybe a new job isn't exactly the right fit, but you know what, it's something new.
I want to give it a try and see if it'll work out.
People are invested in their new situations, their new relationships during these initial periods of time.
However, over time, this effect often wears off for people, and they're forced to face the reality of their new life or their new situation, and that's kind of what we saw here with our students, right? They came into these new schools, specifically the Flint High School, knowing the reputation, knowing that there was violence and chaos and fights and arguments going on, but during this initial period of time, they were able to get passed that and see the school for the positives that they wanted it to be.
Maybe they can rely on a teacher or security guard or a friend to get them through the day.
However, as the school year moved on, we saw a lot more negative feedback from the students who had to deal with the everyday reality of the fights and the violence and the feeling of not being as safe at school.
So again, it's really this interesting context of in this specific area, we saw these students kind of experience this effect very naturally, and they gave it back to us in the responses in the interviews in a very interesting way.
So we think from a school perspective, this is really interesting because it signals that there may be periods of time during the transition process where administrators and staff can really make an impact on students and make them feel welcome and safe in their new environments, but if over time the amount of violence or victimizations they may be experiencing is too much for them to handle, then their views of the school and their progress through this transition process may be affected dramatically.
So again, we wanted to share these findings with you because we thought they were quite interesting and kind of naturally developed out of our project as we were going through it, and again, we're very open to the idea of doing a Q and A after this to see what you all think and see how can improve this moving forward.
So on behalf of Dr.
Melde and me, I appreciate you all taking the time with us today and thank you so much.
>> Thank you so much for that presentation, and I guess there's a point which the honeymoon was over.
So it was very interesting to hear how those kids progressed in their new environments and how they felt about them.
>> Thank you.
>> Our second presentation coming on now is Emma Espel Villarreal and Paul Smokowski and Julia Dmitrieva, and they're going to take a closer look at longitudinal findings from the state of Oregon regarding root causes contributing to school violence, disciplinary responses and factors related to the school-to-prison pipeline.
So with that, I turn it over to our presentation.
Thank you so much.
>> Thank you so much, Barbara.
Hi, my name is Emma Espel Villarreal, and I'm a senior research associate at RMC Research in Denver, Colorado.
I'm joined today by my colleagues and coauthors.
Paul Smokowski represents the University of Kansas and is a senior fellow at RMC Research in Portland, and Julia Dmitrieva is an associate professor at the University of Denver.
So we're here today to talk about our work with the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative Award in our work that took place from 2016 through this past June.
The work began with a great need to understand the root causes and consequences of school violence and student problem behavior.
This need is likely no surprise to you all, since that need likely brought many of the attendees to this conference.
Today, I'll provide a brief overview of how the project was structured, and then we're going into two sets of selective findings that we think will be particularly interesting to this group.
The overall project was guided by several research questions.
These research questions that examined three primary features.
First, the root causes and related factors that contribute to school violence, second, we sought to understand suspensions and expulsions as they relate to school violence and third, we sought to understand more about the school-to-prison pipeline and how disciplinary responses feed into juvenile justice involvement, as well as contextual factors that might be related to this trajectory.
I'll focus less on that piece today, but if anyone is ever interested in learning more about what we've done on those topics, please feel free to reach out.
The methodology of the project involves a data set that contains records for all students in Oregon from 2004, '05 academic years through the 2012, '13 academic years.
We did have a few other data elements available through '13 and '14, but focused primarily on through '12, '13, and the project was unique in that it brought together data from five different agencies: the Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Youth Authority, Oregon Health Authority, Department of Human Services and Integrated Child Services.
By linking these data, we had a chance to understand the contextual factors that are related to this school-to-prison pipeline, and for what we're talking about today, we are focusing on the data from the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Youth Authority, and the structure of the data also allowed us to follow students over time using longitudinal analyses, and the second piece of the project was qualitative.
We conducted a literature search and some informal interviews to understand more about school responses to school violence, but Paul will talk about that after I present a little bit more.
This slide just gives you a brief snapshot of the cohorts that were part of the study.
You don't need to focus too much on the numbers here.
I just wanted to show that through different analyses, we were able to follow different sets of students.
On the top row, you can see that we had data all the way from 2004 and '05 through 2012, '13.
On the first column, you can see that we had grades kindergarten through 12, and the bottom right number shows for you that our final data set had over 5 million records, which allowed us to parse apart some really interesting and unique effects.
One of our projects using this data set that I'll talk about today focused on how school transitions to the middle school grades affect school...
sorry, student problem behavior.
A well-established finding in developmental psychology, criminology is that during middle school and high school, starting right around puberty, students become more involved in problem behavior, and discipline rates follow these trends.
We see that suspension rates have historically been over three times higher in secondary schools compared to elementary schools.
So you can see the trend of increasing problem behavior kind of in puberty and then through adolescence, and then it decreases.
So to some extent, this rise of delinquency or problem behavior is somewhat normative, but we also know that there can be accelerated stress due to transitions and problem behavior in transitions, so I want to talk a little bit about that as well.
So one reason for negative outcomes that are associated with middle school transitions might involve the transition effect.
In this case, students might engage in more problem behavior in the first year of a new school environment because it takes time to learn the rules and stay out of trouble, and it tends to be heightened in new schools that are very different than old ones, like larger schools, less supervised, more rigid rules, leading some students to test boundaries and violate unfamiliar rules.
It was really interesting to hear you talk, Daniel, about the transitions too and the honeymoon effect, so I'm kind of interesting in thinking about how our findings and your findings might relate.
So that's just an aside but really interesting to think about some of the reasons for their perceptions and our quantitative side of data.
Another explanation for the rise in problem behavior during those middle school years could be that compared to elementary and even K-8 schools, middle schools also place a greater emphasis on discipline.
Students are held at higher expectations.
They have to be more autonomous.
There's more pressure on academic accomplishment, and they're also forced to change classes, so they have fewer opportunities to spend extended time with the same teachers and develop relationships with them.
So this kind of social control theory would suggest that students aren't having the same kind of bonds with their teachers that might keep them in line.
Higher disciplinary rates in middle schools could also indicate that schools operate under a more punitive environment where even small infractions lead to exclusionary discipline practices.
Another factor could be school size.
While disciplinary norms and expectations are stricter, larger middle schools have at the same time a lower capacity for faculty and administrators to really be monitoring student behavior.
So it's possible that the rise in problem behavior in middle school could be related to that less monitoring and just, you know, bigger school sizes, and another piece that might explain the rise in problem behavior during middle school is that students who enter middle school are exposed to new problem behavior from their older peers.
So a sixth grader entering a six-through-eight middle school might see what eighth graders are doing and not have been exposed to that behavior before.
So through the idea of deviancy training, students might feel encouraged to engage with problem behaviors in order to make those peer-to-peer connections.
That antisocial role modeling from older peers could lead to kind of persistently elevated levels of behavior problems.
So you might expect to see different patterns of problem behavior with each of these different explanations, and we sought to get kind of to the bottom of what that could be, and then we also all have heard, you know, there are disproportionalities often found in problem behavior that might explain some of the differences.
So individual student characteristics that are linked to reports of problem behavior might be an explanation for some of these rises in problem behavior during that transition, so we included individual characteristics and school characteristics in our study.
So as I mentioned, this current study explored how school transition type influences the developmental trajectories of school problem behavior from grades three through grade eight.
The sample comprised four cohorts of students and followed them for those grade levels.
We also broke it up into students who transitioned from an elementary school to a middle school so kind of a traditional K-5 model to a six-through-eight model, and that fifth to sixth grade transition, that was the majority of students in our sample, 89 percent of them, and then we also looked at students who were in a K-8 schools and those who were in a K-12 school.
So those K-8 and K-12 didn't experience the same school transition that their elementary to middle school peers would have experienced.
So we found consistent and significant escalations in these problem behaviors overall.
That includes both violent and nonviolent problem behavior.
We also broke it down into those distinct categories, and the slide that I'm going to show you shows boys, but we also analyzed boys and girls separately.
Girls had similar patterns, although to a slightly lesser extent.
So importantly, we have the escalation in problem behavior from grades five through six.
While all groups, those who are in K-8, K-12 and the elementary to middle school transition experienced this jump from grades five through six and then sort of a consistent ride afterwards, the escalation in problem behavior was most pronounced for students who transitioned into a six-through-eight middle school, relative to those who are in the K-12 schools, which seem to be most protected from this rise in problem behavior, and then the K-8 is kind of in the middle there, and similar patterns, as I mentioned, were found for girls.
But as I mentioned, there could a number of explanations for this, and so we wanted to get to the bottom of that as well.
We found that individual characteristics, like race, ethnicity, economic disadvantage, English proficiency and special education services, do explain some of the variance in outcomes.
They do not fully explain why students who experience a school transition also exhibit higher levels of problem behavior so that arrow on the top there.
Beyond individual characteristics, the school characteristics really do explain this difference so higher student enrollment so bigger schools, greater school-level rates of anti-social behavior among peers, so there's more peer problem behavior that's reported at the school level and a greater reliance on exclusionary discipline.
So there's higher rates of exclusionary discipline in those schools, tend to be associated with the greater elevations in problem behavior, that bigger jump in that grade five to six.
So we get some explanation from understanding the school context.
What does that mean overall? Well, we think these findings really do confirm that there is a period of risk for problem behavior that includes violence and other problem behavior in that grade five to six transition, and it seems to be more pronounced for students who change schools versus students who do not change schools like those students in K12 schools.
It seems like it may be partially accounted for by new social norms and expectations by peers and adults, that social control theory kind of idea.
And as expected during adolescence, all students problem behavior, but it seems like it might be the loss of smaller, less antisocially-prone and less punitive environments that help account for the escalation of student problem behavior during this school transition.
So what that might mean is for implications for practices, we're not necessarily going to say we shouldn't have six through eight schools anymore, but how can we make those schools feel more small, more intimate and more pro-social for the students who are transitioning into them? Maybe by creating pod-like structures as students are transitioning into middle schools, giving them bigger schools of smaller feel to help the students transition and be less likely to have trouble with problem behavior.
I'd like to turn it over now to Paul, to Paul Smokowski to talk about the next piece of the study, so school safety: context, concerns and interventions.
>> Thank you, Emma.
I appreciate that.
To complement the study, the quantitative studies that Emma has just described, we wanted to do sort of a qualitative piece that also looked at major issues in school safety in terms of rates and prevalence as well as, what would be the landscape for evidence-based practice? If you would advance the slide, Emma.
So, first, in this conference you've heard people say already that it is a rare event to have a school safety problem.
We actually calculated some of that, and in terms of the probability or the chances of being killed at school, a child is more likely to be hit by lightning on the way to school than to be killed in school, which is reassuring, and the chances of being exposed to gunfire at school is about one in 2,500.
And many of those cases have to do with neighborhood violence on the outskirts of school where then the school will lock down.
Advance slide, Emma.
This is our overall conceptual framework after we did a comprehensive literature review.
What we found in terms of the roots of school violence, there's two major factors that were really compelling in the literature.
There's a very large amount of research now on adverse childhood experiences, and these seem to prime the pump, if you will, in terms of kids coming to school with traumatic experiences from outside in their homes or in their communities, which then makes it very difficult for them to settle down into a learning environment.
This would sort of propel difficult circumstances for both teachers, administrators and students themselves being able to focus and concentrate.
In addition to that, we have the victimization experiences at school, which have...
around bullying, and those we have not really budged the rates.
In terms of the CDC's YRBS, it hovers around 20, 22 percent of high school students and mid-40 percent of middle school students, and that's over the course of the last 20 to 30 years.
So we have not been able to really move the needle terribly much in terms of bullying, and both ACEs and bullying have really severe consequence for childhood mental health in terms of anxiety, depression, suicidal behavior, aggression towards others, and that feeds in...
There was a recent FBI report about school shooters, and one of the main...
They only found four consistent ingredients in the backgrounds, and one of them had to do with childhood victimization.
So we actually interviewed several principals who had had school shooting experiences at their schools, and they tended to break into two safety-oriented responses, which had to do with drilling, had to do with threat assessments and then support-focused, and that has to do with more SEO programs, more the PBIS focus that you've already heard in the beginning keynote at this conference.
Go ahead, Emma.
So just very quickly, probably the most common school safety response was an active shooter drills.
Ninety-five percent of schools in the U.
have done this.
However, it's quite controversial because sometimes these entail plastic bullets or rubber bullets being shot, kids being trained to hide in the coatroom, and this can actually retrigger experiences that are negative that kids who have experienced ACEs have brought with them to school.
Go ahead, Emma.
And so when we turn to more evidence-based programs, the threat assessments, the safety drills really do not have a core evidence base, but when you look at evidence-based programs, we have a few archives that are used quite a bit.
What Works Clearinghouse from the DOE, teachers often use that.
However, there is no category for school safety.
You have to look under behavior, and it turns that there's only three relevant evidence-based practices: Caring School Communities, Positive Action program and Too Good for Drugs and Violence, and those are all really focused on elementary school.
Go ahead, Emma.
Again, if you look at crimesolutions.gov, more of the delinquency practitioners, the law enforcement approach, you do see 15 percent of programs that are in that archive are rated effective, so there's very few, actually 26 out of 170 interventions, that are relevant.
Fifteen percent are effective.
Let's go to the next slide.
And then out of that, that I just mentioned, 74 percent of these interventions are focused on elementary school students, and so that shows you that if you transition into middle school, if you are transitioning into high school, you are getting very little evidence-based program to help with those transitions, and that might be a point that we come back to later.
So there's only four really targeted middle and high school programs that you see on the slide, there.
Go ahead, Emma.
So, just to summarize, schools are very safe places.
However, the school safety community of practitioners can really do much more work in terms of the high frequency victimization problems of bullying and adverse childhood experiences that kids bring with them to school and cause a difficulty in settling down to a learning environment.
When you look at evidence-based practices, a very large majority are focused on elementary schools, and we can do much better in terms of devising new and innovative approaches that also integrate middle school where bullying is at its height and high school students.
>> Thank you very much to Emma and to Paul, and now we're ready to move on with our third presentation by Karin Frey and Adaurennaya Onyewuenyi, which is going to be an exploration of how revenge and resolving conflicts impacts the lives of ethnically diverse youth.
So welcome very much.
This is a very key topic in today's world in terms of how we really approach ethnic diversity with equity as well as with effective approaches that meet the cultural needs of those kids and their families.
So thank you so much for presenting, and I turn it over to you.
>> Paul, I don't have my screen here.
Jake, I'm sorry.
What's the issue? >> Okay, so now I...
I've got it...
It keeps disappearing on me, but let me go to slideshow and share my screen and make sure we're okay here.
Now I need to share.
>> Looks good.
Well, despite our previous thing, I'm not...
I'm not seeing it, but let's see if I can advance this.
>> Yup, that worked.
>> Oh, that's interesting.
I'm going to go around and see if I can see my screen on the other monitor.
So Ada and I are both going to be talking.
Ada, why don't you take it away? >> Great.
So thank you all for inviting us and joining us today as we talk about the ways in which ethnically diverse teens talk about revenge and resolving conflicts.
So this project of course could not have just been with Karin and myself.
We have to definitely acknowledge our larger research team that was across the state of Washington.
>> Are we advancing? >> Nothing has changed.
>> Now? >> Yes.
So this is a statement that we often received from journal reviewers: "Why make diversity a priority when no group differences are predicted?" Well, that's because diverse samples help us to better understand basic human behavior, especially those that are linked to well-being.
Also, it aids in countering and problematizing preconceived ideologies, beliefs, attitudes and stereotypes about groups.
In addition, it fights against essentializing individuals or groups.
So although there may be similarities in behavior, there can be differences in the meaning and how that varies across different cultures or groups.
So what does it entail to do research with diverse populations? One of the first and most important things is that most research projects don't center the experiences of minoritized populations at the beginning of the construction of the project, and so it really is important or imperative to think about centering the experiences of underrepresented populations at the actual construction of a study.
And then we need to underscore that although thought of as prework, which is taking the time to build connections with community leaders and your participants and gathering information, doing work with underrepresented populations is a necessary and paramount part of a study, so similar to what we might do in psychometric studies such that we might conduct an EFA with one sample and then a CFA with another sample, these are both necessary and separate conditions of a pyschometric study, just like building relationships and gathering information should be considered in the same vein.
And that when we think about research with underrepresented populations, this might require different processes than research that is conducted with WEIRD samples, which are western, educated, industrial, rich and democratic populations.
So, with that in mind, we now dive into our project.
So when teens feel threatened, they often turn to their friends for support and advice.
As one young man actually stated or told us, supporting peers when they feel threatened fits into this idea of what it means to be a good friend.
This is an age-old saying: "A friend will calm you down when you are angry, but a best friend will skip beside you with a baseball bat singing, 'Someone is going to get it.'" So when we think about what does this mean to our work, avenging a victim is given greater value than the actions that might be related to de-escalating a situation, and we wonder whether or not teens actually believed that, so we used a multimethod design to examine teens' moral emotions, self-attributions and reasoning after they tried to de-escalate tension, entice or avenge a victimized peer.
There's a plethora research on third-party responses to aggression, and much of that that's focused on the role that bystanders may assume during or after an aggressive event.
Surprisingly little research has examined third-party revenge as a factor in school safety despite its role in bullying and in street violence.
Moreover, research has neglected to consider how third-party responses might actually try to keep friends from rash and risky responses that could escalate a situation.
So our mixed methods study, a major goal was to have a sample that was evenly divided across four ethnicities and across male and female-identified participants.
And the focus of utilizing or having African American, Mexican American and Indigenous youth was that a lot of the research, a lot of psychological and educational research, has often left these populations out.
As if, though, these youth don't have something to contribute to our understanding of moral development.
We don't believe that aggression is more relevant or unique to the development of any one group, so despite our interest in underrepresented groups, it was also important to include European Americans.
Another population that's often left out when we think about WEIRD research are those that are in rural or remote areas as most research in education and psychology is focused on participants or youth in urban or suburban environments.
So for this particular study, we had youth rate their emotions and self-attributions after their actions.
We then asked them to explain their ratings, and we investigated this over several different scenarios.
So the first being incitement or kind of egging on a situation, so as we all know, nothing gathers a group of teens as quickly as a fight at school.
But teens often feel pressured to respond to threats with aggression, either right in the moment or after school.
>> As people have done for centuries, we celebrate heroes that avenge innocent victims: Beowulf, the Avengers.
Third-party revenge is morally ambiguous because it involves helping one person and harming another.
That might include physical assaults, verbal intimidation, rumors.
Both inciting others to revenge and third-party revenge escalate the level of violence in a classic positive feedback loop, so if we look over here to the avenger, the vengeful act seems fair and just, but when we start to take revenge, our anger increases, so it escalates just a little.
Naturally, that seems excessive to the offender, who may then counterretaliate.
Both incitement and third-party revenge involve more people in the situation who may then become targets of revenge themselves.
We see the same kind of cycle in gang violence and in the revenge of fifth-grade suburban girls, different tactics and outcomes, but the same escalation and expansion of the aggressive network.
We also asked about times that teens calmed and de-escalated tensions.
They mentioned many strategies that they had used.
Sometimes they physically restrained friends.
They distracted them, mediated, consoled and advised them.
Here we have a socioecological model, another positive feedback cycle between social actions and identity that is influenced by evolutionary affordances and the social context.
Evolution primes us to take care of vulnerable others, to reciprocate kindness and to take revenge for harm.
Neurohormonal evidence indicates the third-party revenge is part of the human caregiving system.
Seeing third-party revenge as potentially hardwired provides both a pessimistic and an optimistic frame on aggression.
First, it suggests that results of anti-violence programs will be disappointed unless they specifically address motives to revenge others.
More optimistically, by identifying the overarching motive as protecting and caring for others, our theoretical model suggests that actions that are more successful than revenges for actually achieving those goals may be embraced by young people.
These affordances are amplified or constrained by contextual factors.
For example, the risk of student retaliation is higher if the school is perceived by them to be unsafe or if students believe their peers value revenge more than peaceful resolution.
This larger circle shows a bidirectional relationship between the actual behaviors and identity-relevant emotions and beliefs.
The model is informed by basic needs theory and meta-analysis showing the links between moral emotions, identity and behavior.
In this view, young people evaluate their behavior according to their personal values and their concepts of the role of a friend.
These actions reinforce or challenge identity, which influences later actions.
>> So as we see here, this is some of our findings.
Teens tend to feel guilty, as we see here, with inciting and ashamed, as well, when they are avenging a peer.
They tend to feel very proud after de-escalating a situation as we see here in blue, and they tend to have a lot of mixed emotions after third-party revenge, so a mixture between pride, guilt and some shame.
Although we found or had some large effects, there were virtually no ethnic or gender group differences.
So we actually found that there was greater variation within a group, so within our Mexican American population, than it was between groups, so no variation between Mexican Americans and European Americans, African Americans or Indigenous individuals, and we did find some individual differences related to endorsements of face and honor norms.
Here, this is as we see across these particular scenarios that the teens felt as if though they were being a friend and had...
what they had done was perceived to be helpful in the de-escalation as well as the avenge settings, and many noted that they felt good about keeping their friends out of trouble.
>> When teens rated their emotions and whether they felt like they were good friends, they explained where they were proud, sad, et cetera, so for this study, we used a priori codes based on Ryan and Deci's Basic Needs Theory and Schwartz's Value Circumplex model to code those explanations.
Along with the goals we cited in the explanations, we also coded whether the statements...
whether the goals were promoted or threatened by the actions.
We're going to focus on the four most common goals: benevolence, competence, self-direction and security.
The last three were pretty rarely mentioned.
I want to call your attention in particular to self-direction.
This was closely tied to identity in that it indicated whether or not actions felt authentic.
That is, congruent with young people's values.
As we'll see, it was usually cited in the negative.
Here you see that incitement in red is associated with threats to benevolence, threats to competence, self-direction and security, while de-escalating in green is viewed as promoting each one of these goals.
When we look at third-party revenge, reflecting its ambiguous status, we can see that it's seen as promoting and threatening benevolence in equal measure.
That's also true for competence and for security.
But it is clearly a threat to feelings of self-direction and authenticity.
Why do the kids incite? Well, they might incite because of their own animosity for an antagonist.
This Native American male provoked a classmate to beat up a student who had repeatedly used racist epithets.
But it did nothing to improve anything.
"I said, 'Sorry,' because you shouldn't instigate something that will get other people in trouble.
You're not taking the blame.
You know it's just not right." A European American male joined his friends in high-risk joking, but he was frightened by the impact it had.
His incitement wasn't entirely intentional.
"One of my friends was saying that Trevor's girl cheated on him with a superstar.
I was just kidding, like messing around.
'Hey, bro, she did it.
Who wouldn't? ' I was getting it on because I thought it was funny, but I was worried, scared that it might end a relationship.
I wouldn't like it if it happened to me.
He's my friend at the end of the day.
I don't want him to do that.
I don't want to do that to him." So incitement usually aroused very negative appraisals.
People get quite angry and aroused when those they care about are attacked, and teens cited those events as threats to identity because they didn't feel like they were in charge of themselves.
This African American male denies that an action he is ashamed of is emblematic of the person he really is, but it seems like he hasn't yet found a pathway to the person he wants to be.
"I felt disappointed because that isn't really me.
I felt guilty because I was talking about hurting him." This Mexican American female has taken the next step.
"I was doing exactly what they had done to my friend.
I was really ashamed.
That's not the person I am today, and that kind of situation is what changed my opinion to where it is now." This requires self-reflection.
Our study is consistent with other research that suggests that situations that lead to more mixed emotions are particularly good at promoting change and improved decision-making.
Along with mixed emotions, third-party revenge was associated with the most morally sophisticated thinking and insights in these young people.
>> In a...
perspective, identity development is a reciprocal, lifelong process.
That is, a mixture between self and society.
Thus, it doesn't happen in isolation.
So as we see here from this Native American female, "I just tell her, 'Oh, you did the same thing to her.
You can't just forget.
You can't be a hypocrite.
'" So here she's demonstrating the impact of self and peer reflection on her identity as a good friend, but we also see her conflicted emotions of being proud because she was able to help her friend see the bigger picture but also worried about her friend's perspective of their friendship or whether her friend perceived her to be a good friend in this particular situation.
We also found that many were able to view themselves in developmental terms, so seeing a particular type of growth, so they can see and reflect upon the growth of their responses to situations as we see here, this young man saying that he felt proud of himself because he was able to handle something in a more mature way, right, and by handling a situation in a less violent manner.
This also shapes their thoughts and perspectives about their future selves, as we see with this next individual who noted that, I see individuals...
or, "Since I'm a junior, they look up to me," so seeing himself as a leader or a mentor to someone that is younger or to younger teens or kids.
>> So having our young people talk about real events provided a strong ecological validity to this, but we can't eliminate an alternative interpretation that less severe events were successfully de-escalated leading to greater feelings of pride, competence, et cetera, than the threats described in the incite and avenge conditions.
We haven't coded that yet, but we did not see any differences between the conditions in the severity.
Nevertheless, we need to confirm these early results with experimental designs that control for the severity of the aggression and the type of third-party response and also to ask whether self-reflection activities can promote positive actions, identity and a more developmental perspective among students and their teachers who may observe that.
We're excited to do that, and thank you very much.
>> Thank you so much for that fascinating presentation, and I was particularly interested in the relationship of inciting more violence versus de-escalating violence as well as those kind of actions that kids take that make them challenge their own identities.
So thank you so much.
We're now moving on to the fourth and final presentation by Bernadette Hohl of Rutgers School of Public Health, and she's going to focus on how students' daily routines and social interactions influence their risk of violence and how these findings can actually inform more effective intervention.
With that I introduce Bernadette.
Looks like you're on mute, too, Bernadette.
Let me get myself set up here.
All set? Great.
So hello and thanks for the opportunity to talk with you today.
My name is Bernadette Hohl.
I'm an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Rutgers University School of Public Health and a senior scholar with the Penn Injury Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
I'm going to talk with you today about the daily routines and social interactions as context for school violence through specifically a qualitative study that we conducted.
I first want to make sure to acknowledge that this study was conducted through an award from the NIJ through the CSSI program, and of course the PI of this study, Doug Wiebe, who's a professor of epidemiology at Penn and also the director of the Penn Injury Science Center as well as other collaborators that have worked on various parts of this study.
So I'm going to give you a little bit of background that most of you probably don't need.
I imagine most of you all know this quite well.
School violence is a major public health concern.
It includes violence in school and en route to school and can make students afraid to go to school.
It's disruptive to the educational environment, not only for the individuals, but clearly for the faculty, staff and other learners.
It has a clear association with negative mental health, school performance and delinquency outcomes, and more than seven million youth in the United States over the last decade have received emergency department treatment for violent injuries sustained at school or as a result of a school event.
So our focus is going to be in Philadelphia, and here you see Overbrook High School, a school that was established in 1924.
It's a massive building.
At one point in '04 and '05 there were over 2,000 students enrolled in grade nine through 12, most of them African American, and as of 2019 there was about 473 students enrolled in this school, still most of them being African American, but 100 percent of the population in this school comes from neighborhoods that are considered economically 100 percent disadvantaged, 100 percent qualify for free lunch programs.
I bring this up to say there...
As we know there are a lot of driving factors for violence in communities, and we've identified both physical and environmental factors and social factors, and this one example being a building that is now in great disrepair.
Along those lines, it's also a school that has the highest instance of school violence, about 63 per 1,000 people, and also is situated in a neighborhood with some of the highest incidents of violence.
In the year for which this study was originally proposed, the incidents of school violence across the city were really quite high.
Similarly to the presenters that came before me, we approached the issue of school violence from an ecological framework.
So the framework views interpersonal violence as an outcome of interaction among factors at four levels: individual, relationship, community and societal, and it's important to understand that no single factor can really explain why some people or groups of people are at higher risk of interpersonal violence.
So we need to be able to develop more of a nuanced understanding of how these levels work together.
As previously discussed, things like metal detectors and cameras, known usually as, like, target hardening measures, are really meant to be preventing crime and protecting occupants.
However there's not a significant amount of research that has been able to demonstrate that these are factors that prevent violence from happening.
These efforts aren't necessarily targeted per se but rather deployed in the school environment more broadly.
So not addressing one particular risk factor at each of these levels, but really just put in place in hopes of preventing something from happening.
In contrast, though, school assault is an abrupt onset event that occurs in a discreet place and time and along a path of many locations.
So our logic for approaching this study was really that being able to study the locations and times when students are vulnerable as the proceed through their day and their routine in addition to the social factors that go along with the physical environment that they proceed through can help us to identify factors that can be targeted for evidence-based prevention.
So we set out to conduct a large-scale, mixed-method investigation that uses the concept of space-time windows of assault risk to understand how students' surrounding and experiences over the school day relate to the likelihood of being assaulted.
So the goal really is to explore exposure variables or risk factors at those two levels of the social ecological model, so the level of the individual and the level of the environment, and to some extent including the relationships between individuals, so the social factors within that environment.
So in another way we're interested in how the things adolescents do and the places that they go affect their likelihood of being injured in an assault.
The larger study is a case crossover study design.
It's a GIS-assisted interviewing techniques, and it sets out to capture the activity paths, the data from activity paths from students who are assaulted to identify the contextual factors.
So here we have three research questions.
What I'll be presenting to you today is in response to the third research question, the qualitative portion of this study, that tries to answer how characteristics of the things that students do, the people that they're with, the places that they travel or spend time in put them at risk or protect them from violence.
To be eligible for this study, students were age 12 to 18 who live and go to school in Philadelphia who were involved in a violent school-related assault, altercation or fight in the 6 months prior to the interview date.
I should say that enrollment in study activities were halted during the course of this study because...
for a couple of different reasons, one, because we were trying to work through some remuneration for study participants and also because of an audit that was underway.
It interrupted our progress and posed challenges for us.
However it certainly did not prohibit us from proceeding with the study and getting some interesting findings.
So students were enrolled.
We obtained both parent consent and student assent and conducted a survey that was verbally administered to the participants, and then the research staff administered open-ended interviews by asking participants to walk them through the day leading up to the day they were assaulted creating these activity paths leading up to their instance of injury starting from the time that they woke up to the point of injury.
So these semistructured interviews were recorded and then transcribed for qualitative coding.
Staff carefully asked about the presence of different factors, including the company that the individuals were with, whether or not there were any illicit substances or weapons, their feelings of safety and other contextual factors, and all of the data would be identified for coding and analysis.
So using a grounded theory approach we developed a code book to closely match some of the common themes and ideas identified in the interviews.
We had two coders establish strong interrater reliability, and then the remaining interviews were divided between the reviewers and coded independently.
Here you see the demographic characteristics of our population.
The median age is about 14 years old.
There were more male than female participants.
Most identified at Black or African American, and most identified as not being Hispanic, Latino or of Spanish origin.
The injuries that were included specifically were blunt trauma, concussion, broken bone or fracture, but most participants had experienced other types of injury as a result of their assault.
About equal amounts said that they were non-gang-related and identified their assault as random violence, although we'll talk a little bit further about that with regards to what we found in our qualitative data.
Finally with regard to the location of the assault, about 48 percent were indoor at school whereas 13 percent were on school grounds but outdoors and then about another 30 percent were in other places, like on the street or just other areas, not school grounds.
So overarching, what we found is the results suggest that school-related violence is infrequently actually a random act.
Although the students may identify it as happening out of the blue, through the coding of the interviews, we really found that it is infrequently random, and there are usually precipitating events, and most often those events involved people who knew each other, which was substantiated by most of our previous research.
I'll talk a little bit about the contributors to violence, including social media, peers and adults.
We found clear opportunities to intervene prior to the incidents.
A very important emerging theme was the varied attitudes of school supervision, so really how the students perceived adults either encouraging or discouraging fighting, feelings of safety and violence as a norm and the importance of emotional regulation and existing trauma.
So as I said, the majority of fighting occurred in school environments, like hallways or classrooms, gyms, cafeterias, recess yards, all mentioned as locations.
You know, if a conflict had been building, they would typically fight when they saw each other, more likely to occur in a place like a hallway or a cafeteria or recess yard that has a little less supervision.
Circumstances seem to contribute to match each location being chosen.
So regarding a fight in the hallway, specifically one student said, you know, when they were looking at the location and how the location may have contributed, this student said, "In the middle, it's skinny.
So right here in the skinny part, the fight happened right here, so it's harder to get out of there.
It's a skinnier hallway, but if it was a big open hallway, it would have been easier for me to slip away." Outside of school locations, fights occurred at transit stops for the same reason they occurred on places like street corners or other nonschool locations, which they were far enough away from school so that they wouldn't necessarily think that they would get in trouble.
Sometimes the characteristics of those transit stations were noted as contributors.
So, like, for example a student slipped on a freshly mopped for in a station when they were running from a perpetrator, and one student noted that being on the bus when an argument started led to fighting at their destination.
Despite some instances of support, peers are more likely to contribute to fighting in a negative way, either by egging them on or joining in.
They encouraged fighting my relaying insulting messages.
When fighting occurred in a public place they would gather to watch, in one case actually preventing the teacher from breaking it up, and it was also common for participants to share that others joined in on the fighting.
One participant noted it was expected for someone's friends to join in and fight and defend them.
A second contributor was social media.
It was often used as a platform to start fights or plan fighting, aggressive behaviors on social media, typically something like Instagram or blocking someone, instigating the fight through messages that then progressed further along occurred as a school-related event.
It was also used to exacerbate problems after a fight occurred.
So several participants shared that the fight that they were in was videotaped and posted on social media or shared among students at their school.
Along with the idea that violence did not occur randomly or without prior cause comes the idea that these types of situations were where tensions escalate to the tipping point come several opportunities to intervene that may or may not have been taken advantage of.
So there were intervention points and opportunities to intervene, and as you'll see, this theme actually goes along with the next one that I'm going to speak about about the potential to de-escalate a fight or in some case the absence of feeling something, which actually was promotive of violent behavior.
So students talked about this idea that they perceived adults attitudes and behaviors to either discourage or encourage violence.
Reactions included fighting varied from doing nothing to stop it at all to actively intervening to addressing the underlying problem that led to the fight in an attempt to prevent future arguments.
So certain school counselors would help to resolve problems.
Teachers, cafeteria and security guards were noted as individuals that may actually ignore fights as they occurred, and in addition, there were examples like this one participant saying and describing the classroom in which he was assaulted in and explaining his teacher said to the students in the beginning of the year, "If you're going to fight break it up yourselves because I won't." So there was a theme of certainly some observance of teacher fatigue.
Despite the fact that each of these individuals had been involved in violence and were injured, many of them, injured as a result, each participant was asked how safe they felt, and the majority of the participants said they still felt safe in their home, neighborhood and school with the exception of maybe one or two examples, as you see here, because, you know, they said, "It was scary because I didn't know if I was going to make it out or if I was just going to be on the ground." And this particular individual identified this event as being out of the blue.
So it actually caught the individual by surprise.
Almost unanimously across the participants, they said that there was always a fight.
It's stupid stuff.
So violence is a norm, and it's just expected to happen.
And not unexpectedly, many of the students that were interviewed came from, as I mentioned, schools in lower income neighborhoods and highly disadvantaged and highly violent neighborhoods expressed instances of past trauma.
They have been in conflicts or could not have been solved without...
that they perceived as could not be solved without physical fighting, and it really highlights some of...
these quotes here really highlight some of the importance of education about, you know, potentially emotional regulation and conflict resolution in a different way because they really feel like they had no other options.
So in summary, just to reiterate, we really found that school violence does occur with some regularity with individuals having many past violent experiences.
They were precipitating events and incidences, which although the students identified as random were not in fact random.
Things like microaggressions, verbal disputes were missed opportunities for intervention and de-escalation and present several factors as points for intervention and development in the future.
So supporting the need as we work through several of our presenters for trauma-informed training, support for teachers and staff to intervene, opportunities for students to have emotional regulation and conflict resolution programming and really help them to identify what to do in certain situations.
For us, our next steps was really to take these qualitative findings and then overlay them with the results of the quantitative findings of the case crossover study to really further contextualize the relationship between the locations of these events and the social factors that we were considering in these themes.
>> Thank you so much, Bernadette.
That was really fascinating.
I would encourage our attendees if they have any questions, I don't see anything entered in the Q and A section, if you have any questions, now would be the time to type them in, but to kind of kick us off, I found it really fascinating, Bernadette.
Some of those statements you made, I wondered how it sort of permeated across the other research presented by other presenters in terms of involvement in gangs and how much of that is carried into the school building and also the issue about whether kids are more likely, say, to know their person attacking them when they're in a school setting than they are in the general community.
You know, the fact that everybody kind of knew who was assaulting them and also the fact that about half of the incidents occurred with gang relationships in some way, shape or form.
So I would like to open it up to the other presenters to see if they might have any feedback on how they look at those particular issues, and again, I would welcome questions in the Q and A section.
>> Yeah, your examples were really recognizable, Bernadette, the idea that your friends are there very often to back you up.
But what was interesting to us is despite the incitement, kids in retrospect really didn't feel good about that, especially if their friend was hurt in any way.
>> So it's definitely interesting because you hear a lot of sort of confusion that comes out.
sort of alluded that to some degree.
They feel like there's really nothing else for...
at least in the themes, they, "No, it's all random," and then when you step through the story that they tell you, it's not random, and so there are points that they may have been able to identify ahead of time or bystanders would have been able to identify ahead of time, including their peers that really may contribute to the in the event issue, but had they had some tools available ahead of time to identify those points of intervention, you know, and recognizing that, you know, they really may be able to, you know, ensure that the conflict didn't actually happen, adults and peers as well.
With regard to the gang stuff, I'm no gang expert, but working with the neighborhoods in Philadelphia pretty closely, we don't have, like, affiliated gangs, but we do have territories, right, and each one of those territories is really For us, because of the way the study was set up, we do see how it's fluid between community violence and school violence.
It's related to each other and known to each other throughout that time, so including if I'm walking in someone's territory that I'm not supposed to be, there was a fight that happened at school, it's all part of that sort of process.
>> I think that really closely tied back to I think it was Paul and Emma in terms of talking about peer norms that dictate what's happening, right, and even so much so that in schools, we often forget the roles that teachers and administration plays in perpetuating these particular norms, right? It's not just the peers.
The adults play into this as well, and so the ways in which when we think about interventions, we're often focusing on the students themselves, but these are, as we really should think, structural things and that if we don't make structural changes, it's not going to change the behavior of every single actor that has some role to play in this as well.
>> You know, I want to add to that because that's a great point.
We had interviewed one principal in a very high risk school that had a shooting, and their response was to become even more integrated within the community structures.
So they opened up a family services unit.
They opened up, like, you know, food and nutrition services, and so they became so integrated that they didn't have to do a zero tolerance policy.
They were just known as a safe zone because you didn't want to mess up all these services that they were doing with their reputation as well in the community.
So it kept them safe in a very different way.
>> Yeah, I'll just second that.
I think that's a really interesting connection.
There were a couple of quotes about the incidences that occurred in hallways or that they were actually waiting for it to be an opportunity in the hallway or the relationship to kind of the overcrowding idea.
That relates really closely to some of the bigger themes or the themes that we found in the quantitative side of things, that school size can make a big difference and how if the kids are feeling like they're in this really big school, kind of small fish in a big pond sort of feeling that might kind of contribute.
And I thought those quotes kind of resonated and those themes resonated as well.
>> I did have an opportunity probably three decades ago to work with some researchers on a project called Transitions into Junior High and the Deviance Process, which kind of came to mind in listening to the presentation by Dan and Chris in terms of the whole...
that entering middle school is a time of such substantial change and sort of reconfiguring your peer network, and one of the things that was tried in this particular study was the investigators were social anthropologists that trained classroom teachers to observe the behavior of the groups coming through their classes.
And that's how the primary data collection was done, and so the teachers talked about how the kids would try on different caps, and one day they'd come in and maybe they'd try to be really smart, and that didn't really fly well with their peers.
So the next day they'd come in and they'd try to be the class clown, and the next day they'd try to stir up trouble, and so they had to get comfortable in their own skin with this whole new group and constellation of people, and the way that we talk about peer networking now is even far more advanced from the analytical perspective, but some of the concepts were really key in terms of these transitions, and I didn't know if Dan or Chris wanted to comment on the whole notion of how these transitions build into place when they change schools, sort of establishing a whole new peer network and a whole new identity in some cases.
>> Yeah, I think that just...
>> You have 1 minute.
>> Within the Flint context, too, so Michigan is an open enrollment state, and so when you talk about identities pre and posttransition too, an important identity is where you get to go to school next.
And they start to talk about that prior to the transition, and it's this notion of whether you stay in Flint or whether you get to go to one of the neighboring school districts, and they will talk about, and teachers and administrators would talk about, the identities that they would take on that last year even if the teachers and the principals knew that what they were saying wasn't true, that they were going to go to this really nice school district just outside the city limits, or they were going to go to a private school district or a charter, and they knew, knowing their older brothers and sisters didn't do that and things like that.
So this whole notion of the haves and the have-nots, too, as related to the school transition was a really fascinating component of our study, as well and that dynamic of, yeah, who was going to kind of make it out was really kind of something that principals even before our study was interested in hearing from the students.
But, absolutely, they talked about that, that kind of changing norm right before the transition and then after because they would have to then relate, if they didn't transition out, why they didn't transition out to a different school district and how that kind of was emblematic of socioeconomic differences, as well.
>> Well, I think I'm going to have to ask us to come to a close.
I want to thank each of you for very exciting presentations, and I want to thank Jake Ingalls, our technical person, for keeping us on track and making sure all our systems were a go.
And I hope you continue now to move onto the roundtable discussions in which the participants can also speak, and then we move through the next set of breakout sessions after that.
But thank you so much.
I hope I get a chance to see all of you in person one day.
>> Thank you, Jake.
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