Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $600,000)
OJJDP is partnering with the Department of Education and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to implement a multidisciplinary initiative to improve school climates, respond early and appropriately to student mental health and behavioral needs, avoid referring students to law enforcement and juvenile justice as a disciplinary response, and facilitate a proactive and supportive school reentry process in the rare instances in which a youth is referred. This is part of a larger effort to enhance collaboration and coordination among schools, mental and behavioral health specialists, law enforcement, and juvenile justice officials at the state and local levels and ensure adults have the support, training, and a shared framework to help students succeed in school and prevent negative outcomes. This program is authorized pursuant to paragraph (3)(D) under the Juvenile Justice heading in the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2014, P.L. 113-76, 128 Stat. 5, 64-65.
The goal of the Justice Collaboration Program is to enhance collaboration between the Court, the schools, law enforcement, and mental health services to improve school climate and foster healthy learning environments. The program that the Court is proposing will help facilitate:
1) healthy learning environments, 2) assist in preventing recidivism and juvenile delinquency and 3) encourage conflict resolution through Restorative Justice, mediation and restitution in the schools.
The Court proposes to hire additional staff, train them to implement a Restorative Justice Program at the Mahoning County High School and support its efforts by implementing anti-gang and girls programming through the Movin' On curriculum specifically designed for high risk populations.
The Court will also support anti-gang prevention programs in three local open enrollment school districts (Austintown, Boardman and Struthers). All facilitators of these programs will work with the Court and its many resources, including mental and behavioral health services, to ensure that students receive referrals to agencies to assist with mental and behavioral problems that affect the education of many.
Training for these programs will be open to School Resource Officers, law juvenile probation officers and mental and behavioral health specialists that work with the Court as well as school counselors. By reducing student conflict and addressing risk factors that compromise education opportunities, the Court expects a decrease in suspensions, expulsions, gang membership and an increase in graduates. Court mediation and restitution provides the opportunity for the Court, law enforcement and the schools to work together to ensure that student who have perpetrated offenses involving destruction of property are held accountable and make restitution to their victims.