Pennsylvania Progress Volume: 6 Issue: 4 Dated: Fall 1999 Pages: 1-8
This paper describes Pennsylvania programs intended to prevent school violence, including the use of school resource officers, school-based probation, student assistance programs, Safe Schools Grants, and the "Blueprints" programs.
As uniformed police officers stationed in schools, school resource officers (SROs) are in a position to deter would-be offenders and provide a rapid response to threatened violence on school property. SROs also serve as mentors, counselors, educators, and role models. Beginning with support for six local SRO programs in 1998, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) is now funding SRO programs in 20 communities around the State and will commit nearly $2 million to SRO programs in the next few years. In addition to SROs, some 150 juvenile probation officers are currently stationed in schools in 46 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties. Probation officers are in schools primarily because that is where their probationers are; school-based probation officers can and often do have contact with their whole caseloads every school day. Coordinated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in collaboration with the Departments of Health and Public Welfare and the PCCD, the Student Assistance Program creates formal structures for identifying students in trouble and offering them and their families access to whatever professional help they may need. In addition to the aforementioned programs, new violence-prevention curricula, districtwide risk assessments, conflict resolution, and peer-to-peer mentoring programs, as well as a variety of other locally managed school safety promotion initiatives are being funded through Safe Schools Grants from the Department of Education. "Blueprints" programs are touted as model violence-prevention programs that have been proven to be effective, practical, replicable, and capable of forming the nucleus of a national violence-prevention effort. Five Internet websites that focus on school violence prevention are listed and described.
Date Published: January 1, 1999