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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Arizona

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

National Institute Of Justice Invests $63 Million To Support School Safety Research, Arizona Awarded $4,999,442

PHOENIX – The Office of Justice Programs’ National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today announced it has awarded nearly $63 million to school districts and research organizations through the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (CSSI).  CSSI is a large-scale, multi-agency research effort to build knowledge about effective approaches to increasing school safety nationwide.

            Through the Initiative, 24 research projects receive funding under two different solicitations. The first, “Investigator-Initiated Research,” includes nine awards to research organizations totaling more than $18 million. The second, “Developing Knowledge about What Works to Make Schools Safe,” provides more than $45 million to 15 school districts and their research partners.

         “We are proud that within our District, the University of Arizona,  in partnership with  the Arizona Department of Education, has been selected to research and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the school resource officer (SRO) training and activities,” said U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo, “This evaluation of the role of those in the SRO positions will be directed to 45 overall schools around the state in an effort to determine the most effective way to enhance the school safety of our students.”

            “We know a great deal about how to make schools safe in general but very little about the specifics for various settings and populations,” said Dr. William J. Sabol, Acting Director of NIJ. “With this $63 million investment, the nation will gain an understanding of school safety that is scientifically sound, practical, and that can be easily interpreted and used by schools.”

 President Obama’s January 2013 plan to end gun violence emphasized keeping guns out of potentially dangerous hands and recognized that additional actions are needed to make our schools safer. CSSI was launched in early 2014 in response to a Congressional request for a broad, research-based effort to increase safety in the nation’s schools.

The initiative has three primary goals: to collect national-level data; to convene stakeholders to identify and share best practices; and to conduct innovative research and evaluate pilot projects in school districts. The programs and policies within CSSI are designed to produce evidence about what works in such areas of school safety as effectiveness of school resource officers and mental health professionals, violence and bullying reduction, and effectiveness of such restorative justice interventions as youth courts. The initiative will also examine potential unintended consequences of school safety efforts, including the excessive use of exclusionary discipline and arrests of students.

         Although NIJ has primary responsibility for CSSI, the program is a collaborative effort among more than 20 federal partners, including the Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and the Treasury. This partnership will allow the federal government to make a significant impact on school safety by investing limited funds in research that has practical applications for every school in the nation. By determining what interventions work best for specific schools and students, CSSI will provide professionals with a body of knowledge to help them make decisions about which programs will be most effective — and most cost effective — for their particular schools and their challenges.

         A list of the awards and more information about CSSI are available at www.nij.gov, keywords: “School Safety.”

For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/
Follow the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, on Twitter @USAO_AZ for the latest news.

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Updated January 7, 2015