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Reducing School Violence in Detroit: An Evaluation of an Alternative Conflict Resolution Intervention

NCJ Number
Date Published
191 pages
In response to an increasing problem of youth violence, the Wayne County Office on Violence Reduction (Michigan), in conjunction with the Detroit Public Schools, piloted a conflict resolution program in several Detroit middle schools; this report describes the program and its evaluation design and findings.
The training consisted of 10 1-hour sessions designed to provide students with information on the risks of violence and homicide, to teach various alternatives to violence, and to create a classroom and school environment that is nonviolent. The program was first implemented in the two selected middle schools in the spring of 1994. The 10-week sessions were also conducted with different students in the fall of 1994 and spring of 1995. The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the effects of the conflict resolution program on variables associated with violence (attitudes toward fighting, attitudes toward school, perceptions of school safety, self-efficacy, self-reported delinquency, observed delinquency, and victimization). The evaluation also focused on the ability of the training to affect participants' social competence, self-efficacy, and expectations of the outcome of competent behavior. The evaluation measured group differences between program participants and nonparticipants; approximately 50 students from each school were randomly chosen to be interviewed at the end of the first and second school year of program implementation. To measure school-wide programmatic effects on school climate and students' attitudes, surveys were distributed to all middle school students prior to the initial training session, at the end of the first school year of program implementation, and at the end of the second school year of program implementation. Although the evaluation findings did not show that the training produced the intended results, several recommendations emerged from the evaluation research. These recommendations are programmatic, school-based, and research-related. 63 tables, 2 figures, 65 references, and appended curriculum, survey instruments, and conflict scenarios coding manuals

Date Published: January 1, 1999