Many schools throughout the United States are experiencing high levels of youth violence. Some schools have adopted a broad range of solutions to curb the violence. Research suggests that the most promising school violence prevention programs involve at least some of seven characteristics, including a comprehensive approach, starting early and involving parents. Although few prevention programs have been evaluated, some federal programs are now funding evaluations to examine some prevention programs.
One particular study in New York City schools used conflict resolutions and peer mediation training to reduce student fighting. Seventy-one percent of teachers observed less physical violence among the students that participated.
Violence-prevention literature and experts consistently associate at least seven characteristics with promising school based violence prevention programs: 1} A comprehensive approach.
2} an early start, long term commitment.
3} strong leadership and disciplinary policies.
4} staff development.
5} parental involvement.
6} interagency partnership and community linkages.
7} culturally sensitive approach.
Another innovative program-The Beacon Initiative-operates here in New York City where about 36 schools stay open 7 days a week from early morning to late evening providing services such as: counseling, tutoring, recreational activities, vocational training, and a safe place for kids to "hang out.".
New York's RCCP program is widely regarded as one of the most promising violence- prevention programs among public health experts. RCCP is school based program in conflict resolution and inter-group relations that provides a model for preventing school violence and creating schools that are conducive to learning.