Tag Archives: task force

Baylor University study: ‘Violence Free Zone’ program can be effective

25 Mar

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) collects statistics about school violence. According to School Violence: Data & Statistics, the CDC reports:

The first step in preventing school violence is to understand the extent and nature of the problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Justice gather and analyze data from a variety of sources to gain a more complete understanding of school violence.
According to the CDC’s School Associated Violent Death Study, between 1% and 2% of all homicides among school-age children happen on school grounds or on the way to and from school or during a school sponsored event. So the vast majority of students will never experience lethal violence at school.1
Fact Sheets
• Understanding School Violence Fact Sheet[PDF 254 KB]
This fact sheet provides an overview of school violence. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/school_violence_fact_sheet-a.pdf
• Behaviors that Contribute to Violence on School Property[PDF 92k]
This fact sheet illustrates the trends in violence-related behaviors among youth as assessed by CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS). YRBSS monitors health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among young people in the United States, including violence. http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/pdf/us_violenceschool_trend_yrbs.pdf
• Understanding Youth Violence [PDF 313KB]
This fact sheet provides an overview of youth violence.
• Youth Violence: Facts at a Glance[PDF 128KB]
This fact sheet provides up-to-date data and statistics on youth violence…. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/yv-datasheet-a.pdf http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/schoolviolence/data_stats.html

A Baylor University study examined an intervention strategy which might be effective in reducing school violence.

Science Daily reports in ‘Violence-free’ zones improve behavior, performance in middle, high school students:

A youth violence-reduction mentoring program for trouble-plagued schools in urban centers has contributed to improved student behavior and performance at high-risk middle and high schools in Wisconsin and Virginia, according to a new Baylor University case study.

The “Violence-Free Zone” is the national model of mentoring students in areas with high levels of crime and violence. The mentoring program is designed to address behaviors that result in truancies, suspensions, violent incidents, involvement in drugs and gangs and poor academic performance in public middle and high schools.

Four evaluations of VFZ programs conducted between 2007 and 2013 show positive impact, including a unique return-on-investment (ROI) analysis of a VFZ high school in Milwaukee, according to study leaders Byron Johnson, Ph.D., director of the Program on Prosocial Behavior in Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, and William Wubbenhorst, non-resident fellow at Baylor and scholar in faith-based and community initiatives.

The case study evaluates improvements at two VFZ high schools in Richmond, as well as the impact of the Milwaukee VFZ program on youths mentored by adults who work full time in the schools as hall and cafeteria monitors and role models. They work closely with safety officers, teachers and counselors.
Among the key findings:

1. A four-year study (academic years 2007 to 2010) of the VFZ Program in Milwaukee’s School for Career and Technical Education showed a: • 44 percent reduction in the average number of behavioral incidents per VFZ student per month • 79 percent reduction in average number of suspension days per VFZ student per month • 23 percent reduction in truancy incidents per VFZ student per month • 9.3 percent increase in GPA per VFZ student • 24 percent higher rate of graduation from high school than non-VFZ students • 8 percent higher college enrollment rate (as compared to the Wisconsin state level) • 64 percent increase in the number of students reporting a more positive school climate (as compared to the year prior to the VFZ program start)

2. A Return-On Investment Analysis of the Milwaukee school’s program showed an estimated lifetime savings of $8.32 for every $1 invested in the VFZ program, based on reduced administrative costs from fewer suspensions; reduced police costs from service calls; reduced juvenile detention costs; lower truancy rates; savings from reduced number of auto thefts within 1,000 feet of the school; savings from reductions of such high-risk behaviors as drinking, violence against intimate partners or violence against oneself; and projected increases in lifetime earning associated with higher high school graduation and college enrollment rates.

3. A four-year study (from academic years 2009-2012) of overall school-level trends of the VFZ program in Richmond showed a: • 44 percent reduction in the average number of suspensions per student • 27 percent reduction in the average number of suspension days per student • 18 percent increase in the average grade point average

4. A one-year study (academic year 2013-14) of VFZ students in three middle schools and eight high schools in Milwaukee showed a: • 7 percent decrease in the average number of non-violent incidents per VFZ student per month • 31 percent decrease in the average number of violent incidents per VFZ student per month.
The Milwaukee Violence-Free Zone program was created and is directed by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Neighborhood Enterprise and implemented in Milwaukee schools by CNE’s community partners, Running Rebels Community Organization and the Milwaukee Christian Center. The Richmond program was operated in partnership with the Richmond Outreach Church.

“The VFZ initiative not only is measurably effective in reducing violence, it is cost-effective,” said CNE President Robert L. Woodson. “It produces saving to the community by avoiding court and incarceration costs and by promoting attendance and academic achievement. It makes it possible for teachers to teach and students to learn.” For more information about the Multi-State Mentoring Research study, visit http://www.cneonline.org/
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150323111642.htm

Here is an excerpt describing the Violence Free Zone concept:

Reducing Youth Violence: The Violence-Free Zone Violence-Free Zone Initiative:
A Proven Model for Stopping Violence in the Schools and Creating Peace in the Community
The Violence-Free Zone is the national model of a youth violence reduction and high-risk- student mentoring program created by the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. Designed to operate in the most trouble-plagued schools in urban centers with high levels of crime and violence, the VFZ has produced measurable decreases in violent and non-violent incidents and suspensions in more than 30 schools across the country. The principles developed in the Violence-Free Zone model have also proved applicable to suburban and rural communities.
Three studies by evaluators from Baylor University reported that the VFZ had measurable impact in improved safety, reduction in suspensions and truancies, and increased academic performance. Educators and law enforcement officers from sites around the country have praised the VFZ for changing the culture of previously violent schools and reducing crimes in surrounding neighborhoods.
How It Works
The goal of the Violence-Free Zone initiative is to reduce violence and disruptions in the schools and prepare students for learning. The Center provides overall management and direction to the Violence-Free Zone initiative sites, and selects established youth-serving organizations to be CNE’s community partners and implement the VFZ program in the schools. These organizations have the goal of stopping violence in their neighborhoods and have demonstrated that they have the trust and confidence of young people. The Center provides training in the Violence-Free Zone national model as well as technical assistance, administrative and financial oversight, and linkages to sources of support.
Central to the program are the Youth Advisors, mature young adults who are from the same neighborhoods as the students in the schools they serve. The Youth Advisors command respect because they have faced and overcome the same challenges as the students. Carefully screened, hired, and managed by the local community-partner organization, the Youth Advisors work in the schools as hall monitors, mediators, and character coaches, and they mentor the high risk students that often are responsible for disruptions…. http://www.cneonline.org/reducing-youth-violence-the-violence-free-zone/

Citation:

Violence-free’ zones improve behavior, performance in middle, high school students

Date: March 23, 2015

Source: Baylor University

Summary:
A youth violence-reduction mentoring program for trouble-plagued schools in urban centers has contributed to improved student behavior and performance at high-risk middle and high schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Richmond, Virginia, according to findings of a new case study.

Here is the press release from Baylor University:

‘Violence-Free’ Zones Improve Behavior and Performance in Middle and High School Students, Baylor University Study Finds
March 20, 2015
WACO, Texas (March 23, 2015) — A youth violence-reduction mentoring program for trouble-plagued schools in urban centers has contributed to improved student behavior and performance at high-risk middle and high schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Richmond, Virginia, according to findings of a new Baylor University case study.
The “Violence-Free Zone” (VFZ) is the national model of mentoring students in areas with high levels of crime and violence. The VFZ mentoring program is designed to address behaviors that result in truancies, suspensions, violent incidents, involvement in drugs and gangs and poor academic performance in public middle and high schools.
Four evaluations of VFZ programs conducted between 2007 and 2013 show positive impact, including a unique return-on-investment (ROI) analysis of a VFZ high school in Milwaukee, according to study leaders Byron Johnson, Ph.D., director of the Program on Prosocial Behavior in Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, and William Wubbenhorst, non-resident fellow at Baylor, scholar in faith-based and community initiatives and co-president of Social Capital Valuations, LLC.
The case study also includes an evaluation of school-level improvements at two VFZ high schools in Richmond, as well as the impact of the Milwaukee VFZ program specifically on youths directly receiving mentoring services from the VFZ “Youth Advisers” — adults who work full time in the schools as hall and cafeteria monitors, role models and mentors. They work closely with school safety officers, teachers and counselors to provide a support system for students.
Among the key findings:
1. A four-year study (academic years 2007 to 2010) of the VFZ Program in Milwaukee’s School for Career and Technical Education showed a:
44 percent reduction in the average number of behavioral incidents per VFZ student per month
79 percent reduction in average number of suspension days per VFZ student per month
23 percent reduction in truancy incidents per VFZ student per month
9.3 percent increase in GPA per VFZ student
24 percent higher rate of graduation from high school than non-VFZ students
8 percent higher college enrollment rate (as compared to the Wisconsin state level)
64 percent increase in the number of students reporting a more positive school climate (as compared to the year prior to the VFZ program start)
2. A Return-On Investment Analysis of the Milwaukee school’s program showed an estimated lifetime savings of $8.32 for every $1 invested in the VFZ program, based on reduced administrative costs from fewer suspensions; reduced police costs from service calls; reduced juvenile detention costs; lower truancy rates; savings from reduced number of auto thefts within 1,000 feet of the school; savings from reductions of such high-risk behaviors as drinking, violence against intimate partners or violence against oneself; and projected increases in lifetime earning associated with higher high school graduation and college enrollment rates.
3. A four-year study (from academic years 2009-2012) of overall school-level trends of the VFZ program in Richmond showed a:
44 percent reduction in the average number of suspensions per student
27 percent reduction in the average number of suspension days per student
18 percent increase in the average grade point average
4. A one-year study (academic year 2013-14) of VFZ students in three middle schools and eight high schools in Milwaukee showed a:
7 percent decrease in the average number of non-violent incidents per VFZ student per month
31 percent decrease in the average number of violent incidents per VFZ student per month
The Milwaukee Violence-Free Zone program was created and is directed by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE) and implemented in Milwaukee schools by CNE’s community partners, Running Rebels Community Organization and the Milwaukee Christian Center. The Richmond program was operated in partnership with the Richmond Outreach Church.
“The VFZ initiative not only is measurably effective in reducing violence, it is cost-effective,” said CNE President Robert L. Woodson. “It produces saving to the community by avoiding court and incarceration costs and by promoting attendance and academic achievement. It makes it possible for teachers to teach and students to learn.”
For more information about the Multi-State Mentoring Research study, visit the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise’s website at http://www.cneonline.org
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.
ABOUT THE INSTITUTE FOR STUDIES OF RELIGION
Launched in August 2004, the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. The institute’s mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history, and embraces the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. While always striving for appropriate scientific objectivity, ISR scholars treat religion with the respect that sacred matters require and deserve.
School violence is a complex set of issues and there is no one solution. The school violence issue mirrors the issue of violence in the larger society. Trying to decrease violence requires a long-term and sustained focus from parents, schools, law enforcement, and social service agencies.

Resources:

A Dozen Things Students Can Do to Stop School Violence                                                  http://www.sacsheriff.com/crime_prevention/documents/school_safety_04.cfm

A Dozen Things. Teachers Can Do To Stop School Violence.                                                        http://www.ncpc.org/cms-upload/ncpc/File/teacher12.pdf

Preventing School Violence: A Practical Guide                                                                          http://www.indiana.edu/~safeschl/psv.pdf

Related:

Violence against teachers is becoming a bigger issue                                                                        https://drwilda.com/2013/11/29/violence-against-teachers-is-becoming-a-bigger-issue/

Hazing remains a part of school culture                                                                                            https://drwilda.com/2013/10/09/hazing-remains-a-part-of-school-culture/

FEMA issues Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans  https://drwilda.com/2013/07/08/fema-issues-guide-for-developing-high-quality-school-emergency-operations-plans/

Study: 1 in 3 teens are victims of dating violence                                                                           https://drwilda.com/2013/08/05/study-1-in-3-teens-are-victims-of-dating-violence/

Pediatrics article: Sexual abuse prevalent in teen population                                                        https://drwilda.com/2013/10/10/pediatrics-article-sexual-abuse-prevalent-in-teen-population/

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Violence against teachers is becoming a bigger issue

29 Nov

Education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. Increasingly, those in the teaching profession are victims of violence in the classroom.

Carolyn Thompson of AP reported in the article, Teacher Killings Bring Shocking School Violence Numbers To Light:

About 4 percent of public school teachers reported they had been attacked physically during the 2007-08 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education, citing a 2012 school safety report. Seven percent were threatened with injury by a student.
A 2011 survey found that 80 percent of teachers reported being intimidated, harassed, assaulted or otherwise victimized at least once during the previous year.
Of the 3,000 teachers surveyed, 44 percent reported physical offenses including thrown objects, student attacks and weapons shown, according to the American Psychological Association Task Force on Violence Directed Against Teachers, which conducted the national web-based survey.
The task force recommended creating a national registry to track the nature and frequency of incidents, saying this would help develop plans for prevention and intervention. It also suggested that all educators be required to master classroom management before they are licensed to teach…
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/18/teacher-killings-bring-shocking-school-violence-rates_n_4295203.html?utm_hp_ref=@education123

The National Education Association (NEA) is also following the school violence issue.

Tim Walker wrote in the NEA Today article, Violence Against Teachers – An Overlooked Crisis?

According to a recent article published by the American Psychological Association (APA), 80 percent of teachers surveyed were victimized at school at least once in the current school year or prior year. Teacher victimization is a “national crisis,” says Dr. Dorothy Espelage of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who served as chair of the APA task force on Classroom Violence Directed at Teachers. And yet, the issue is generally ignored or at least underreported by the media and given inadequate attention by scholars – a deficiency that has widespread implications for school safety, the teaching profession and student learning.
The APA article was based on a survey – one of the few national studies – conducted in 2011 that solicited anonymous responses from almost 3,000 K-12 teachers in 48 states (NEA assisted APA by distributing the survey to its members).
NEA Today recently spoke with Dr. Espelage about the tasks force’s findings and recommendations and how addressing teacher victimization must be a component of any comprehensive school safety plan.
What kinds of attacks are teachers facing?
About half of the teachers who reported being victimized experienced harassment. Others reported property offenses, including theft and damage to property. And about one-quarter of these teachers experienced physical attacks. Harassment includes anything from obscene gestures, verbal threats and intimidation and obscene remarks. With physical offenses, teachers widely reported objects being thrown at them and being physically attacked. The most severe and uncommon cases are physical attacks that result in a visit to the doctor.
In your work with the task force, what did you find out that might surprise people?
A big surprise was the general scarcity of research out there about the victimization of teachers in the workplace. When the APA asked me as head the task force to conduct a survey, I assumed a lot of research was out there, but itwasn’t. It’s 2013 and there have been only 14 studies conducted internationally. It’s a very underreported problem.
So if you have an area that isn’t being studied thoroughly, it will never come to the attention of the public. And that won’t translate into better pre-service training, professional development for teachers, more support from administrators and other measures that can be taken to address the issue.
Any comprehensive examination of school violence must include violence directed at teachers. Focusing solely on student victimization to the exclusion of teacher victimization results in an inadequate representation of safety issues, which makes it more difficult to formulate effective solutions.
What people also should know is that we’re not just talking about students attacking or harassing teachers. Students are not always the perpetuators. We heard about incidents of adult-on-adult incidents – including parents and colleagues. What we found is that a physical attack was more likely to come from a parent as opposed to a student.
You also found that a teacher who is victimized by a member of one group, say a student, is more likely to be victimized by another group.
Yes, but it’s hard to determine why that is. It could be a number of factors. A student who harasses or threatens might come from a family who is inclined to victimize the teacher in some way as well. It could be something about the teacher. Maybe he or she is not adequately supported by the administration and puts them at risk for other episodes.
What are the costs to the school or community?
The big issue is teacher attrition. It’s hard to know exactly but we suspect that it is one component of many that explains why teachers are leaving the profession. Other costs include lost wages, lost instructional time, potenial negative publicity for the school, and a negative impact on student learning. Teacher cannot perform their job effectively if they feel threatened.
The task force makes a number of recommendations, including the creation of a national registry that can be used to track these incidents. You also urge that teacher preparation programs be strengthened so that teachers enter the classroom better prepared to confront and defuse potential violence. How much of an impact can this make when so many other outside factors contribute to the problem?
Many pre-service teachers aren’t necessarily equipped with the skills to manage their classrooms. So it starts with pre-service education. This is a priority in special ed, where teachers are really taught how to deescalate conflict. So one of the top recommendations we make in the report is urging teacher preparation programs to provide the next generation of teachers with a better skill-set that can at least help manage conflicts before they escalate.
Clearly teachers aren’t victimized just because they haven’t received adequate pre-service training or professional development.I also take a sociological perspective to studying the issue. What are the demographics of the school? What’s the administration like? What resources are available at the school? What neighborhood is the school situated in? And obviously we have to look at parental involvement.
And what’s the school climate like? We know about the connection between positive school climate and lack of aggressive or violent behavior. The research is very clear on that connection. Really strong leadership by the administration is needed to create a positive learning climate. How well does the administration connect with the teachers, how well do they know the student? The entire ecology of the school and the community has to be taken into account.
As for additional resources and teacher support, the trend in many states isn’t headed in the right direction. Class sizes are betting bigger – that certainly doesn’t help – and teachers are receiving less support, not more. So major shifts have to occur in our priorities for education funding. This is why we need to study this issue more, raise greater awareness, and help move the conversation forward.
Read the APA article, “Understanding and Preventing Violence Directed Against Teachers.”
http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/amp-68-2-75.pdf
See also:
When Educators Are Assaulted-What NEA Affiliates Are Doing to Protect Members from Violent and Disruptive Students
http://www.nea.org/home/42238.htm
Bullying of Teachers Pervasive in Many Schools
http://neatoday.org/2012/05/16/bullying-of-teachers-pervasive-in-many-schools/
Related posts:
1. Preventing School Violence: Are We Making the Grade?
2. Educators Say Mental Health Awareness Key to Preventing Gun Violence
3. NEA Poll: Educators Support Stronger Laws to Prevent Gun Violence
4. How Teachers Can Help Cope With a Crisis
5. Four Things You Need to Know About the Pension “Crisis”
http://neatoday.org/2013/02/19/violence-against-teachers-an-overlooked-crisis/

Dr Joan Simeo Munson has some good suggestions about how to deal with aggressive behavior in young children http://www.empoweringparents.com/author_display.php?auth=Dr.-Joan-Simeo-Munson
According to Leo J. Bastiaens, MD and Ida K. Bastiaens in their article about youth aggression in the Psychiatric Times, http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/articles/youth-aggression-economic-impact-causes-prevention-and-treatment?verify=0 one of the treatment options is medication. For some children medication works and helps them to control their aggressive tendencies. Probably, more children are medicated than need to be, but the decision to use medication is highly individual and should be made in conjunction with health care providers. A second or even a third opinion may be necessary. NYU’s Child Study Center has an excellent Guide to Psychiatric Medicine for Children and Adolescents http://www.aboutourkids.org/articles/guide_psychiatric_medications_children_adolescents Mary E. Muscari, PhD, CPNP, APRN-BC,CFNS Professor, Director of Forensic Health/Nursing, University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania; Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Psychological Clinical Specialist, Forensic Clinical Specialist, Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania writes at Medscape.Com about pharmacotherapy for adolescents

Before prescribing medication therapy for aggression, the clinician should ensure that the patient has a medical evaluation to rule out contraindications to treatment and to determine whether the patient’s aggressive symptoms might improve with appropriate medical care. Psychiatric evaluation is also necessary to determine whether psychosis, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or other problems are present. Treatment of these conditions may also result in reduced symptoms of aggression. Nonpharmacologic measures should be instituted; however, when pharmacologic treatment is warranted, institute treatment with an antiaggression medication that best fits the patient’s symptom cluster. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/545247

Medication should not be a first resort, but is an acceptable option after a thorough evaluation of all treatment options has been made.

Aggressive behavior can be costly for the child and society if the child’s behavior is not modified. At least one study has found preventative intervention is effective:

E. Michael Foster, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Damon Jones, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, in conjunction with the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group, examined the cost effectiveness of the NIMH-funded Fast Track program, a 10-year intervention designed to reduce aggression among at-risk children….
Previous results showed that among children moderately at risk for conduct disorder, there were no significant differences in outcomes between the intervention group and the control group. However, among the high-risk group, fewer than half as many cases of conduct disorder were diagnosed in the intervention group as in the control group. These results were extended in the current paper to consider also the cost effectiveness of providing the early intervention. By weighing the costs of the intervention relative to the costs of crime and delinquency found among the study participants, the researchers concluded that this early prevention program was cost-effective in reducing conduct disorder and delinquency, but only for those who were very high-risk as young children. http://www.4therapy.com/news/also-news/targeted-preventive-interventions-most-aggressive-children-2747

As with many problems, the key is early diagnosis and intervention with appropriate treatment. Purposeful harm to another person is never acceptable.

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