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Introduction
Table of Contents
Appendices  
Subject Index  
Glossary  
References
Related Links
About the Authors
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0-01: An inclusive, respectful school climate
0-08: Partnerships with community service providers
0-13: Evaluation of school health and safety programs
1-01: Family involvement in health/safety programs, policies
2-06: Functional knowledge of health and safety issues
2-07: Learning social skills
4-01: Student assistance teams at each site
4-08: Child abuse reporting system
4-11: Crisis response team and plans
6-03: Buildings: construction and renovation
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Center for Mental Health in Schools.
Resources, technical assistance, and continuing education on topics related to mental health in schools, with a focus on barriers to learning and promotion of healthy development.
Center for School Mental Health Assistance
Supports schools and communities in the development of programs and provides leadership and technical assistance to advance effective interdisciplinary school-based mental health programs.
Children's Safety Network
Resources on child safety in school and on employed youth.
Colorado Anti-Bullying Project
Part of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. Provides information for teachers, parents, and students to prevent bullying, including resources, links, and a bullying quiz.
Connect for Kids
Resources for teachers and parents with advice from mental health professionals.
Keep Schools Safe
Information on violence and unintentional injury prevention in schools.
National Educational Service
For educators and other youth professionals to help foster environments where all youth succeed.
National Institute of Mental Health
Click onto "For the Public" to retrieve publication materials relating to mental health for children and adolescents, including materials on violence and suicide, including surgeon general reports.
National Mental Health Information Center
A web site for the United States Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); Links to the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and other mental health resources.
Safe USA
Resources for safety on playgrounds and in sports, and for violence prevention.
US Department of Education
US Department of Education - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
US Department of Education - Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools
Includes publications on effective violence and substance abuse prevention programs.
US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Information and resources (conferences, funding opportunities, publications) about juvenile justice, delinquency, and combating youth crime.
US Surgeon General Reports
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7-05 - Violence prevention strategies
 

Provide the following violence prevention and management services: (a) rules prohibiting violent and disrespectful behaviors; (b) protocols to deal with violent events; (c) links to mediation, mentoring, and therapeutic services; (d) strategies to identify students at high risk for engaging in violence; (e) staff education; and (f) evaluation of violence policies and programs.

   
Rationale
 

An environment that makes students feel safe will also reduce students' motivation to take matters into their own hands and prevent the escalation of aggressive behaviors. School policies, rules and resources aimed at violent behavior that are therapeutic, not simply punitive, diminish chances for long-term emotional, spiritual and physical sequelae. Linking students to assistance programs prevents criminalization of students with correctable difficulties.

   
Commentary
 

A safe social environment provides many good role models for students and has opportunities for them to learn and enhance communication skills, problem-solving, and anger management. The physical environment can also be designed to be reassuring to students and reduce chances for violence. Provide adequate lighting and presence of adults (i.e., staff, parents, safety officers) in school hallways, rest rooms and playgrounds. Students need to feel that the environment is safe for them to communicate their needs. Culturally competent teachers are more likely to be good role models and more capable of communicating effectively. Guidelines on developing cultural competency are provided in Appendix B. Detailed school guidelines to prevent and manage violence are available (14, 20).

Categories of programs that have shown to be either effective or encouraging to reduce violence are: mentoring, tutoring students with academic difficulties, home visitation (particularly in elementary grades), parenting training and support, therapeutic foster care, and programs or curricula addressing bullying, conflict resolution, anger management, mediation and refusal skills. Peer mediation programs are often appropriate. Leadership skills, connectedness, and a sense of ownership and responsibility for aspects of school life can reduce violence (e.g., student government or peer mediation). Provide numerous venues where students can achieve success (e.g., athletics, arts, vocational training) and communicate that each student is expected to succeed. Develop data collection and analysis systems that provide for tracking cases, feedback to the school and the community, and allow for evaluation of prevention programs in the schools.

Labeling students based on race, socioeconomic status, gender, and similar general descriptors has a detrimental effect on academic performance as well as on social and emotional well-being. These demographic attributes should not be used to select students for participation in a violence prevention program. However, knowing risk factors for violence can help when working with an entire student population. While most students who have risk factors for violence do well (e.g., those exposed to violence at home early in life), most will benefit from the opportunity to address their issues. See Appendix F for lists of risk factors for violence, school preventive strategies and program evaluation methods.

   
REFERENCES
 

Barrios L. Special report. Federal activities addressing violence in schools. J Sch Health. 2000;70:119-140.

Bell CC, Clark DC. Adolescent suicide. Pediatr Clin North Am. 1998;45:365-380.

Bell CC, Gamm S, Vallas P, Jackson P. Strategies for the prevention of youth violence in Chicago public schools. In: Shafii M, Shafii SL, eds. School Violence: Assessment, Management, Prevention. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2001:251-272.

Center for Mental Health in Schools. Mental Health in Schools: Guidelines, Models, Resources, and Policy Considerations. Los Angeles, CA: Center for Mental Health in Schools; 2001.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School health guidelines to prevent unintentional injuries and violence. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2001;50(RR-22):1-73.

Davis J, Brods S: Suicide in J. Sandoval, ed. Handbook of Crisis Counseling Intervention and Prevention in the Schools. 2nd ed. Hillsdale, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001; 273-299.

Drug Strategies. Safe Schools, Safe Students: A Guide to Violence Prevention Strategies. Washington DC: Drug Strategies; 1998.

Dwyer K, Osher D, Warger C. Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools. Washington, DC: US Department of Education; 1998.

Dwyer, K. and Osher, D. Safeguarding Our Children: An Action Guide. Washington, D.C.: US Departments of Education and Justice, American Institutes for Research. 2000.

Eggert LL, Thompson EA, Herting JR, Nicholas LJ. Reducing suicide potential among high-risk youth: tests of a school-based prevention program. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior. 1995;25:276-296.

Forjuoh SN, Zwi AB. Violence against children and adolescents. International perspectives. Pediatr Clin North Am. 1998;45:415-426.

Gilliland BE, James RK. Crisis Intervention Strategies. 3rd ed. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks Cole; 1997.

Gray RE. The role of school counselors with bereaved teenagers: with and without peer support groups. School Counselor. 1998;35:185-193.

Kalafat J, Elias M. An evaluation of a school-based suicide awareness intervention. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior. 1994;24:224-233.

Ladson-Billings, G: Crossing Over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001.

Lieberman R, Davis J. Suicide Intervention. In: Brock S, Lazarus P, Jimerson S. Best Practices in School Crisis Prevention and Intervention. Bethesda, MD. National Association of School Psychologists; 2002.

Mazza J. School-based suicide prevention programs: are they effective? School Psychology Review. 1997;26:382-396.

 
          
 
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