Following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, the US Congress allocated $150 million to the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) to improve school safety. The National Institute of Justice, the research branch of the USDOJ, was charged with administering these funds and in 2014 launched the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. In 2015, a team of researchers from the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri – St. Louis was awarded one of these highly competitive grants to study the causes and consequences of school violence in order to inform school policies that may increase school safety.
This project will investigate the causes and consequences of a range of issues associated with school safety, including behaviors such as property theft, minor assault, bullying, and cyber-bullying, as well as other factors that contribute to school safety including school disciplinary practices, measures for enhancing school safety, students’ willingness to report dangerous behavior they observe, and the availability and utilization of victim services. The information produced by this research will help to generate a clearer understanding of the root causes of violence and victimization in schools as well as their consequences for students, their families, and the learning environment. The work will contribute practical knowledge that can help to improve the safety of schools and students.