School violence, truancy, drugs, and gangs are problems confronting many communities. OJJDP is helping to address these issues through a variety of Research Division activities. In 1997, OJJDP funded the creation of the Hamilton Fish National Institute on School and Community Violence at The George Washington University to test the effectiveness of violence prevention methods and to develop more effective school-based strategies. As part of the Institute, a consortium of seven universities was formed. Each university in the consortium works directly with a local school system to implement and test schoolwide interventions that promote safety by reducing fighting, bullying, truancy, and drug use and enhancing positive student interaction. Through this effort, the Institute is identifying programs that can be replicated to reduce violence in America's schools and communities.
OJJDP is also working with other offices within the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to initiate a coordinated effort focused on school and community safety. This project, Safe Schools/Healthy Students, will streamline the application process for school districts and communities to develop and implement comprehensive, communitywide strategies that create safe environments for learning. The Research Division is contributing to this effort by providing direction and oversight for a national evaluation of the program.
In addition to these school safety efforts, the Research Division will administer the National Evaluation of the Truancy Reduction Demonstration Program, a joint effort of OJJDP, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Executive Office for Weed and Seed. The evaluation will assess the effect of a variety of truancy reduction projects in the country, determine how community collaboration can affect truancy and lead to systemic reform, and assist in developing a truancy reduction program model for community use.