Tag Archives: Violence in Schools

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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Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure

13 Dec

One of the causalities of the decline and death of newspapers is the decline in investigative journalism. When the Seattle PI was still a print publication in 2001, they published a series of articles about discipline in the Seattle Public Schools. At that time, the list of behaviors included:

                                              1.   Disruptive conduct

                                              2.   Fighting

                                              3.   Disobedience

                                              4. .Assault

                                              5. Rule-breaking

                                              6. Alcohol/drugs

                                              7. Theft

                                              8. Trespass

                                              9.   Smoking

                                              10. Weapons

When this report was written, African American students were suspended at a higher rate than other students. The great thing about this piece of journalism was the reporters examined assumptions about what could be causing the disparity in expulsions. The assumptions about why African American students are disciplined and the statistical reality often do not provide clear-cut answers. The Seattle PI followed the report with a 2006 Update and the disparity issue remained. Perhaps, Dr. Bill Cosby is on to something with his crusade to ask tough questions about whether a “hip hop” culture is conducive to promoting success values in a population who must survive in the dominant culture. Debates about what cultural norms are healthy and should prevail are not useful to a child who is facing a suspension or expulsion and who must deal with that reality. It is imperative that children stay in school and receive a diploma or receive sufficient skills to allow them to prepare for a GED. If a child is facing a suspension or expulsion, the parent or guardian has to advocate for the child and the future placement and follow-up treatment for the child. The hard questions about placement in an education setting center on student behavior and whether the behavior of the individual child is so disruptive that the child must be removed from the school either for a period of time or permanently.

Does Hip-Hop Culture Affect Student Behavior?

Gosa and Young’s case study about the oppositional culture of hip-hop is a good description of the possible impact of a certain genre of music on the educational values of the young listeners.

Given the prominent, yet controversial theory of oppositional culture used to explain the poor academic achievement of black youth and recent concerns that hip-hop is leading black youth to adopt anti-school attitudes, we examine the construction of oppositional culture in hip-hop music. Through a qualitative case of song lyrics (n=250) from two of hip-hop’s most influential artists – “conscious” rapper Kanye West and “gangster” rapper Tupac Skakur, we find oppositional culture in both artist’s lyrics. However, our analysis reveals important differences in how the two artists describe the role of schooling in adult success, relationships with teachers and schools, and how education is related to authentic black male identity. Our findings suggest a need for reexamining the notion that oppositional culture means school resistance.

The study gives a good description of oppositional culture, but it is overly optimistic about the role of the market place in promoting the basest values for a buck.

Lest one think that hip-hop culture is simply the province of thugs and low- income urban youth. Think again, there are many attempts to market a stylized version of the culture. A 1996 American Demographics article describes the marketing used to cross-over hip-hop culture into the mainstream.

Many of the hottest trends in teenage music, language, and fashion start in America’s inner cities, then quickly spread to suburbs. Targeting urban teens has put some companies on the map with the larger mainstream market. But companies need an education in hip-hop culture to avoid costly mistakes.

The Scene: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, a bastion of the white East Coast establishment. A teenaged boy saunters down the street, his gait and attitude embodying adolescent rebellion. Baggy jeans sag atop over-designed sneakers, gold hoops adorn both ears, and a baseball cap shields his eyes. On his chest, a Tommy Hilfiger shirt sports the designer’s distinctive pairing of blue, red, and white rectangles.

Four years ago, this outfit would have been unimaginable to this cool teen; only his clean-cut, country-club peers sported Hilfiger clothes. What linked the previously preppy Hilfiger to jeans so low-slung they seem to defy gravity? To a large extent, the answer lies 200 miles southwest, in the oversized personage of Brooklyn’s Biggie Smalls, an admitted ex-drug dealer turned rapper.

Over the past few years, Smalls and other hip-hop stars have become a crucial part of Hilfiger’s open attempt to tap into the urban youth market. In exchange for giving artists free wardrobes, Hilfiger found its name mentioned in both the rhyming verses of rap songs and their “shout-out” lyrics, in which rap artists chant out thanks to friends and sponsors for their support.

For Tommy Hilfiger and other brands, the result is de facto product placement. The September 1996 issue of Rolling Stone magazine featured the rap group The Fugees, with the men prominently sporting the Tommy Hilfiger logo. In February 1996, Hilfiger even used a pair of rap stars as runway models: horror-core rapper Method Man and muscular bad-boy Treach of Naughty by Nature.

Suburban normed or middle class youth may dabble in hip-hop culture, but they have a “recovery period.” The “recovery period” for suburban youth means moving from deviant norms, which preclude success into mainstream norms, which often promote success. Suburban children often have parental and peer social pressure to move them to the mainstream. Robert Downey, Jr., the once troubled actor is not necessarily an example of hip-hop culture, but he is an example of the process of “recovery” moving an individual back into the mainstream. Children of color and low-income children often do not get the chance to “recover” and move into mainstream norms. The next movement for them after a suspension or expulsion is often the criminal justice system

Joan Gausted of the University of Oregon has an excellent article in Eric Digest 78, School Discipline

School discipline has two main goals: (1) ensure the safety of staff and students, and (2) create an environment conducive to learning. Serious student misconduct involving violent or criminal behavior defeats these goals and often makes headlines in the process. However, the commonest discipline problems involve noncriminal student behavior (Moles 1989).

The issue for schools is how to maintain order, yet deal with noncriminal student behavior and keep children in school.

Alan Schwartz has a provocative article in the New York Times about a longitudinal study of discipline conducted in Texas. In School Discipline Study Raises Fresh Questions  Schwartz reports:

Raising new questions about the effectiveness of school discipline, a report scheduled for release on Tuesday found that 31 percent of Texas students were suspended off campus or expelled at least once during their years in middle and high school — at an average of almost four times apiece.

Donna St. George has written a Washington Post article which elaborates on the Texas study.

In the article, Study shows wide varieties in discipline methods among very similar schools, St. George reports:

The report, released Tuesday, challenges a common misperception that the only way schools can manage behavior is through suspension, said Michael D. Thompson, a co-author of the report, done by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and Texas A&M University’s Public Policy Research Institute. “The bottom line is that schools can get different outcomes with very similar student bodies,” he said. “School administrators and school superintendents and teachers can have a dramatic impact….”

The results showed that suspension or expulsion greatly increased a student’s risk of being held back a grade, dropping out or landing in the juvenile justice system. Such ideas have been probed in other research, but not with such a large population and across a lengthy period, experts said. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/study-exposes-some-some-myths-about-school-discipline/2011/07/18/gIQAV0sZMI_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

Family First Aid has a good discussion about the types of behavior problems that result in suspension or expulsion.  Dore Francis has a guide, which lists what parents should do if their child is suspended. The guide gives detailed instructions to these steps and other steps. Francis also lists what questions to ask after meeting with school officials.

Additionally, Family First Aid discusses the education questions a parent or guardian should ask when their child has been permanently excluded from a school setting because of behavior problems.

What options are there now that your teen has been expelled?

– Home School? Yes, your teen may get the academics, the grades, and the knowledge. But he will not learn to interact with others in a positive manner, and the original problem still exists.

– Alternative School? The focus at an alternative school is to finish the coursework for graduation. There is no focus on the original problem of why the student could not succeed socially in the regular school setting and again, the original problem still exists.

– Specialty School? There are several different kinds of specialty schools and programs. There are wilderness programs “boot camps” military schools, and religious schools. Some include academics and some do not. Some programs are an intense “wake up call” that last about a month, and others are long term. Some focus only on the child and some involve the entire family in the healing process.

If your child has a behavior disorder, one month of intense “wake up” won’t change anything. It also won’t change the peer group he has or his involvement with drugs and/or weapons.

The focus at this point should be how best to address the behavior issues that resulted in the disciplinary action. It is important to contact the district to find out what types of resources are available to assist the student in overcoming their challenges. Many children have behavior problems because they are not in the correct education placement. Often, moving the child to a different education setting is the beginning of dealing with the challenges they face.

See:

Education Law Center

Discipline In Schools: What Works and What Doesn’t?

Justice for Children and Youth has a pamphlet I’m being expelled from school – what are my rights?

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act balancing act

30 Oct

Schools all over the country are challenged by students who are violent, disruptive, and sometimes dangerous. Christine Clarridge, Seattle Times staff reporter reports in the Seattle Times article, Student-privacy laws complicate schools’ ability to prevent attacks which was about an unprovoked assault in a high school restroom which almost killed two students.

Five months before she allegedly attacked two schoolmates with a knife, nearly killing one, a Snohomish High School student underwent counseling after she threatened to kill another student’s boyfriend.

The 15-year-old Snohomish girl was allowed to return to school only after she presented proof she had attended counseling.

The earlier threats would have never been made public if the information wasn’t contained in court documents charging the girl with first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault in last Monday’s attack.

Some Snohomish parents were surprised to learn of the earlier threat and have expressed concern that they weren’t notified.

But student information, including mental-health records, is tightly held by school districts because of federal privacy laws. The district says it cannot even discuss whether counselors or teachers were made aware of the earlier threats because of privacy laws.

The case underscores the delicate and complicated balancing act faced by schools in their efforts to meet the educational and privacy rights of individual students, as well as their need to ensure the safety of the larger student body.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2016643796_schoolsafety30m.html

There is a complex intertwining of laws which often prevent school officials from disclosing much about students.

According to Fact Sheet 29: Privacy in Education: Guide for Parents and Adult-Age Students,Revised September 2010 the major laws governing disclosure about student records are:

What are the major federal laws that govern the privacy of education records?

  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 20 USC 1232g (1974)
  • Protection of Pupil’s Rights Amendments (PPRA) 20 USC 1232h (1978)
  • No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Pub. L. 107-110, 115 STAT. 1425 (January 2002)
  • USA Patriot Act, P.L. 107-56 (October 26, 2001)
  • Privacy Act of 1974, 5 USC Part I, Ch. 5, Subch. 11, Sec. 552
  • Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act (Pub. L. 106-386)

FERPA is the best known and most influential of the laws governing student privacy. Oversight and enforcement of FERPA rests with the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA has recently undergone some changes since the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act and the USA Patriot Act….

https://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs29-education.htm

The key provisions of FERPA are:

FERPA is the best known and most influential of the laws governing student privacy. Oversight and enforcement of FERPA rests with the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA has recently undergone some changes since the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act and the USA Patriot Act, discussed below.

What are the most important things to know about FERPA?

FERPA gives parents and adult-age students some rights to the privacy of the student education record. Under FERPA, adult-age students are those who have reached the age of 18 or who attend post-secondary school, even though not yet 18 years of age. For example, a 17-year-old who is enrolled in college would be considered “adult-age.”

The law provides:

  • The right of parents and adult-age students to inspect and receive a copy of student records.
  • The right to deny access to others, specifically those outside the school system, with some exceptions.
  • A process to correct errors, including a hearing.
  • The right to opt-out of military recruitment.
  • The right to opt-out of the disclosure of a student’s directory information.
  • A complaint process, handled by the Family Compliance Office of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA has some significant shortcomings:

  • It does not give individuals the right to sue the school. Only the U.S. Department of Education can sanction schools that have violated FERPA.
  • It puts the burden on students and parents to respond to opt-out opportunities, such as disclosure of directory information.
  • It does not dictate requirements for safeguarding education records.

The Family Compliance Office (FPCO) oversees FERPA. For more information about this law and the mission of this Office, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Web site at www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/index.html. As part of its oversight duties, FPCO has adopted regulations that supplement FERPA.

The agency’s core regulations as well as major amendments adopted in December 2008 can be found on the office’s Web site at www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html. In addition, FPCO’s Web site provides guidance on various aspects of FERPA to students, parents, teachers and school administrators.

A key case describing the limitations of FERPA is The Chronicle of Higher Education vs. The United States, ELECTRONIC CITATION: 2002 FED App. 0213P (6th Cir.), UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT:

KARL S. FORESTER, District Judge. Intervening Defendant-Appellant The Chronicle of Higher Education (“The Chronicle“) contests the district court’s grant of summary judgment and subsequent permanent injunction in favor of Plaintiff-Appellee the United States. Specifically, the district court concluded that university disciplinary records were “educational records” as that term is defined in the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, and that releasing such records and the personally identifiable information contained therein constitutes a violation of the FERPA. The district court permanently enjoined the Defendants-Appellees Miami University and The Ohio State University (“Miami,” “Ohio State,” or collectively “Universities”) from releasing student disciplinary records or any “personally identifiable information” contained therein, except as otherwise expressly permitted under the FERPA. For the reasons that follow, we AFFIRM. [Emphasis Added]

School districts have to balance the rights of students to an education with the need to know of other parties.

School Policies and Legal Issues Supporting Safe Schools by Thomas Hutton and Kirk Bailey from the Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence put the issue of violence in schools in context and reviews the impact of federal regulation.

The discretion school officials have to disclose information about a student among themselves and to others is limited by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).51 Generally speaking, under FERPA personal information that is contained in a student’s education records may not be disclosed without the parent’s consent. When the student reaches the age of 18, his or her consent is required instead, except for disclosures to the parent as long as the student remains a dependent of the parent under the Internal Revenue Code.52

Education records” is construed very broadly to cover most school records concerning a student, but several of the exceptions to the nondisclosure rule apply in safety-related situations and are described below. A private individual has no right to sue over an alleged FERPA violation; rather, the remedy is an enforcement action by the federal government. IDEA also includes privacy protections related to students with disabilities and special education that largely parallel those in FERPA….

gwired.gwu.edu/hamfish/merlin-cgi/p/downloadFile/d/…/legalpdf/

As the case in Snohomish County illustrates, sometimes the balance tips in favor of the troubled student to the detriment of everyone else.

Resources:

FERPA General Guidance for Students

http://ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/students.html

No Child Left Behind A Parents Guide

http://ed.gov/parents/academic/involve/nclbguide/parentsguide.pdf

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©