Profile No. 56

Weapons Are Removed Now (W.A.R.N.) Program -- Los Angeles, CA

Program Type or Federal Program Source:
School-based intervention program.

Program Goal:
To reduce the number of weapons on school campuses and encourage students to report when they see a weapon on campus.

Specific Groups Targeted by the Strategy:
Elementary and middle school students (grades 5 to 8).

Geographical Area Targeted by the Strategy:
Los Angeles, CA.

Evaluated by:
Internal data collection.

Contact Information:
Jay Shaffer, Director
18230 Kittredge Street
Reseda, CA 91335
Phone: 818­342­6186, ext. 355

Years of Operation:

In 1993, Reseda High School, which was considered one of the county's safest schools, was shocked when a student was murdered on campus by a fellow student. It was later discovered that several students knew beforehand that the perpetrator was carrying a handgun, but did not alert school officials. In response, the W.A.R.N. program was created to break the code of silence among students and keep weapons of all kinds off school campuses.

The program trains high school student volunteers to visit area elementary and middle schools and make presentations on the dangers of weapons and violence on campus. The students present the message that violence is an improper method for settling disputes; weapons on campus are life-threatening; and breaking the code of silence about those who bring weapons on campus is the right and necessary thing to do. The student volunteers visit the schools alone or in groups. The method by which the message is presented is left to the students' discretion. Students have used several creative methods of presentation, including performing skits, reading poetry, and singing rap songs. School administrators assist the students by reviewing and approving their presentations beforehand, confirming contacts with local feeder schools, and providing transportation for the students, if needed.

The W.A.R.N. program has received positive feedback from elementary and middle school students. Evaluation forms given to these students show that the message is being heard. Moreover, the number of recovered weapons in Los Angeles County schools has decreased since 1993, when the W.A.R.N. program was initiated. While it is difficult to directly link all of this reduction to the W.A.R.N. program, the findings are encouraging. In 1995, the W.A.R.N. program was recognized by the International Association of Chiefs of Police as 1 of 15 promising programs for reducing gun and other violence in the schools.

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Promising Strategies to Reduce Gun Violence OJJDP Report