Is it Working?: A literature review of School Violence Interventions in Texas




Johnson, Ahrein


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Youth violence has been a Public Health concern for decades, but in recent years, youth violence in schools has taken the forefront and captured the attention of the media, parents, and policy makers. Most violent crimes committed by youth ages 12-18 occur at school. Moreover, in 2015, 90% of high schools experienced some form of violence, compared to 57% of primary schools and 88% of middle schools (National Center for Education Statistics, 2019). School violence is a local concern. According to the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, Texas high schoolers experience higher averages of school violence compared to the national average. Due to these higher rates of violent crimes in Texas high schools, nearly 1 in 12, or 8%, of Texas high schoolers did not attend school at least one day within the last 30 days of taking the survey because they felt as if it was unsafe (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, 2017). A literature review was conducted to determine current policies and interventions that are in place to reduce school violence in Texas high schools. The review revealed that Texas primarily utilizes ineffective and controversial responsive interventions rather than utilizing more effective proactive policies to reduce violence. Most identified gaps in services are contributed to schools being overwhelmed and underfunded. This review will provide recommendations to program developers and policy makers to ensure safety in Texas high schools.