A Glimpse Into Urban Middle Schools on Probation for “Persistently Dangerous” Status: Identifying Malleable Predictors of Fighting

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, 200 N. Wolfe Street, Suite 2093, Baltimore, Maryland 21287.
Journal of School Violence 09/2009; 8(4):284-300. DOI: 10.1080/15388220903129918
Source: PubMed


The No Child Left Behind Act requires state boards of education to identify schools that are unsafe. Schools that are identified by measures such as suspension and expulsion rates are subsequently labeled "persistently dangerous." To our knowledge there is no published research that attempts to characterize fighting behavior among youth who may attend schools designated as "persistently dangerous." Two hundred and thirteen sixth grade African American boys and girls attending two urban middle schools on probation for "persistently dangerous" status were examined to investigate differences in demographic characteristics of gender and age and predictor factors of non-parental adult mentorship, parental acceptance of fighting behavior, and peer fighting. These analyses suggest a relationship between the number of peers who fight, youth who believed their parents endorse fighting, and youth without non parental adult mentorship were more likely to fight. This study also indicates that regardless of school status there are modifiable predictors associated with early adolescent fighting.

Download full-text


Available from: Bruce Simons-Morton, Apr 11, 2014
12 Reads
  • Source
    • "Study participants were 452 nonrepeating, mainstreamed sixth graders attending three urban middle schools on probation for classification as " persistently dangerous " under the State of Maryland's No Child Left Behind Act policy (Maryland State Department of Education, 2005). A school is identified as " persistently dangerous " based on measures of suspension and expulsion rates (Jones et al., 2009). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Aggressive and weapons carrying behaviors are indicative of youth violence. The theory of planned behavior is used in the current analysis to improve our understanding of violence-related behaviors. We examine the influence of perceived behavioral control (self-control and decision making) as a part of the overall framework for understanding the risk and protective factors for aggressive behaviors and weapons carrying. As the baseline assessment of an intervention trial, survey data were collected on 452 sixth-grade students (50% girls; 96.6% African American; mean age 12.0 years) from urban middle schools. A total of 18.4% carried a weapon in the prior 12 months, with boys more likely to carry a weapon than girls (22.5% vs. 14.2%, p = .02). Of the youth, 78.4% reported aggressive behaviors with no significant differences found between girls (81.3%) and boys (75.5%). In logistic regression models, having peers who engage in problem behaviors was found to be a significant risk factor. Youth with peers who engaged in numerous problem behaviors were five times more likely to be aggressive than those who reported little or no peer problem behaviors. Teens who reported that their parents opposed aggression (odds ratio [OR] = 0.76; confidence interval [CI] = 0.66, 0.88) and who used self-control strategies (OR = 0.59; CI = 0.39, 0.87) were found to report less aggressive behaviors. For weapons carrying, being a girl (OR = 0.56; CI = 0.32, 0.97) and self-control (OR = 0.52; CI = 0.29, 0.92) were protective factors. This study demonstrated that the theory of planned behavior may provide a useful framework for the development of violence prevention programs. Practitioners should consider integrating strategies for developing healthy relationships and improving self-control.
    Health Education & Behavior 09/2014; 42(2). DOI:10.1177/1090198114548479 · 2.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: School violence has evolved into an identifiably pervasive public health problem. Adverse consequences of school violence vary from bullying to death. In 2007, 457,700 youth (ages 12-18) were victims of serious crimes with 34% occurring on school grounds or on the way to school. A concept analysis of school violence can expand and enhance awareness of the pervasive phenomenon of school violence. Rodgers and Knafl (1993) evolutionary concept analysis method was used to provide a guiding framework for examination of school violence. Related manuscripts from the extant interdisciplinary school violence literature were obtained from relevant health science databases, the Education Resources Information Center, and various governmental and specialty websites within the contemporary time frame of 2000-2010. Analysis revealed the enormous scope and complexity of the problem of school violence including bullying, physical fighting, weapon carrying, alcohol/substance use and street gang presence on school property, school-associated violent death, safe schools legislation, and violence prevention strategies. Forensic nurses across practice settings are uniquely positioned to intervene to improve health of these youth through identification, assessment, treatment, and referral.
    Journal of Forensic Nursing 03/2012; 8(1):4-12. DOI:10.1111/j.1939-3938.2011.01121.x
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This research examines the perspectives of youths, their caregivers and educators on specific incidences of recent out-of-school suspensions. Racial disproportionality in out-of-school suspensions is a persistent, multi-level social justice and child well-being issue. We examined suspensions sensitized primarily by an ecological-systems perspective and secondarily by critical race and social language theories. We employed a mixed methods design with an emphasis on the qualitative component. Twenty-eight youths with recent out-of-school suspensions, 25 of their caregivers and 16 educators participated in individual, semi-structured, audiotaped interviews. Participants from all groups expressed a commitment to youths' education, viewed suspensions as a racial issue, believed youth and caregiver behaviors contributed to suspensions, observed that suspensions are harmful to youth achievement and educator–youth relationships, and emphasized the need for youths to have caring relationships with educators and to change problematic behaviors. Youths underscored the role of peer behaviors in their suspensions and the impact of suspensions on their peer relationships. Caregivers emphasized the negative impact of suspensions on family–school relationships, and the need for interventions that provide moral, spiritual and general guidance to youth. Family members (caregivers and youths) underscored the need for intervention to improve educators' sensitivity to youths. Educators emphasized the need to maintain a positive learning environment for all students, and for preventive and flexible approaches to problematic youth behaviors. They also described a variety of macro system constraints to implementing better alternatives to suspensions. These included inadequate school resources, legal liability issues and a culturally diverse student population and relatively homogeneous staff. Implications for reducing suspensions of Black youths are discussed.
    Children and Youth Services Review 11/2014; 46:128–138. DOI:10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.08.003 · 1.27 Impact Factor