This study has been completed.
August 2004 – May 2011
Pacific Institute for Research
The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (SDFSCA) was authorized as part of Title IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The program provided grants to states for the purposes of preventing students' use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit substances as well as to prevent violence in and around schools. SDFSCA was funded at close to $295 million in Fiscal Year 2009. This study sought to inform the SDFSCA by providing rigorous evidence on the impacts of a violence prevention program.
Curriculum-based violence prevention programs have been widely implemented in schools, but research has found that their effects are small and short-lived. Whole-school violence-prevention strategies, which aim to increase the clarity, fairness, and consistency of school disciplinary policies, have been promoted by experts in the field but have not been widely used or rigorously tested. Thus, this study combined a curriculum and a whole-school strategy to test a comprehensive approach to violence prevention.
Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RiPP), the curriculum component, consisted of 16 one-hour lessons delivered at each grade level. Best Behavior, the whole-school component, created clear school rules and helped personnel consistently enforce them. Forty middle schools were recruited for the evaluation with half of them randomly assigned to receive the violence-prevention program. School violence and student aggression was measured through student and teacher surveys. The quality of program implementation was measured in treatment schools through interviews with school administrators and teachers, and through on-site observations.
The final report, titled Impacts of a Violence Prevention Program for Middle Schools: Findings After 3 Years of Implementation, was released in May 2011.
Other publications from this study are listed below.
A restricted-use file containing de-identified data is available for the purposes of replicating study findings and secondary analysis.