A Milwaukee school program called Violence Free Zones is showing encouraging results in reducing violence, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The program is aimed at reducing conflict by connecting students to mentors. Each adviser in a school has a caseload of 10 to 25 students who volunteer to participate in the program or are connected by school staff. The effort is directed by the national Center for Neighborhood Enterprise and is run by two local organizations, Running Rebels and Milwaukee Christian Center, in 11 public schools.
A new Baylor University study found that participating students in three middle schools and eight high schools recorded a 31 percent drop in the average number of violent incidents per student monthly during the academic year 2013-’14. A longer-range study at one school from 2007 to 2010 found lower average number of suspension days per participating student per month; a 44 percent drop in the average number of behavioral incidents per student per month; and a 24 percent higher graduation rate than non-participating students. The key is to intervene before a problem such as rumors or gossip on Facebook escalates to a classroom distraction or physical confrontation.