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NCJ Number: 149703 Find in a Library
Title: Preventing School Violence
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:63  Issue:8  Dated:(August 1994)  Pages:20-23
Author(s): D S Libby
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines recent violent incidents at a suburban Virginia public high school and describes how police agencies can work with school administrators and the community to prevent violence among students.
Abstract: The school is one of 21 public secondary schools in Fairfax County, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C. During the 1992-93 school year, this school enrolled 2,073 students in grades 9 through 12. Fifty-two percent of students are white; 26 percent Asian; 12 percent, Latino; and 10 percent, African-American. In recent years, violence in the school had risen sharply. By 1992, school administrators and police realized that two distinct ethnic factions had formed within the school population: one African-American and one Latino. Each group charged the other with failure to respect them properly. In October, 1992 40 to 50 students, primarily Latino and Korean, had a fight in the lunch room. In January 1993, an off-campus shooting occurred, as a Latino student shot an African-American student in the leg. Despite the principal's removal of 50 of the student aggressors the next day, vandalism and violence continued to occur in the school throughout the rest of the day and week. In addition to traditional routine reactive responses to those responsible for criminal acts, the police mounted initiatives to avert further violence and resolve some of the underlying problems. These included the assigning of a patrol officer to the high school full time and instituting a policy of "zero tolerance for violence." Officers from the police department's Community Liaison Unit worked with the school administration and the students to mediate the underlying disputes. The school administration acted promptly to suspend anyone arrested for violent acts. The police involved the community from the beginning. Three days after the shooting, representatives from the police, the high school principal, school board members, and the school superintendent met with 350 to 450 parents, students, and residents of the community to discuss the problem. The key ingredient in resolving the escalating violence was a mediation group that involved Latino and African-American student representatives. They reached a consensus on a strategy to eliminate violent acts between the groups. The strategy was publicized to all students. Since that time, violent acts have significantly diminished.
Main Term(s): Police juvenile relations
Index Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs; Minorities; School delinquency programs; Violence causes; Violence prevention; Virginia
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