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  • Academic Achievement and Violence Free Zones

    On Monday, Bob Woodson and his team of youth mentors, along with school administrators, law enforcement and government leaders, held a summit on youth violence and the success of Woodson’s Violence Free Zones. Those in attendance at the Washington, D.C. conference testified to the efficacy of Violence Free Zones, citing a 32 percent reduction in violent incidents in Milwaukee Public Schools, a reduction in car thefts of more than 60 percent around high schools in Richmond, Virginia, and in general, a reduction in violence, suspensions, and disruptions in schools.

    Violence Free Zones staff train youth mentors who come from the same cultural zip code as the children they are trying to help – many of whom are involved in gang activity and drug use. Bob Woodson, President of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, writes:

    School systems rely almost exclusively upon metal detectors, cameras, and security guards or police to secure the schools. While these external approaches have their place, they are limited in the control they can exert. They may suppress some behaviors, but they do not confront the causes of those behaviors.

    Violence Free Zones work because they get at the root of the problem by providing solid role models for the children who, prior to the mentor program, turned to gang activity and drug use. The mentors teach problem-solving skills, model successful behavior, and are available 24 hours a day. Not only has the Violence Free Zone program made a significant impact on reducing violence, it has also raised the academic achievement of those involved.

    Researchers at Baylor University conducted a case study of the impact of the VFZ program on public schools in Milwaukee, and found that the academic achievement of students in the VFZ schools had risen nearly 4 percent. Part of this increase may have been due to a reduction in suspensions. As a result of the VFZ program, suspensions in Milwaukee public schools declined 37 percent. Those extra days spent in school likely contributed to the rise in academic achievement.

    Students in Richmond, Virginia also benefited from the Violence Free Zones. Students in VFZ schools saw an 8 percent increase in GPA, and a 55 percent reduction in suspensions.

    In many of the nation’s largest cities, school violence and low academic achievement persists. In Washington, D.C. for example, 1 in 8 children reports being threatened with a deadly weapon in the last 12 months. During the 2007-08 school year, there were 912 incidents of violence reported to the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. It is impossible for a child to learn in a dangerous school environment.

    Every school and every city is different, and Woodson’s distinctive approach to tackling school violence meets the unique needs of students and schools across the country. While his approach meets unique needs, the VFZ approach of mentoring is entirely replicable in other troubled districts across the county.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Academic Achievement and Violence Free Zones

    1. Bobbie Jay says:

      It's just not right. What happened to parental responsibilities?

      If the law was enforced, behaviors would change on their own. Why again, are taxpayers held accountable for the actions of other people's children? AND paying for law enforcement? Why are people having children if they aren't going to take responsibility for them? Including, provisions of basic necessity. If qualifications for government handouts were without bias, racism, discrimination but with equal qualifications, all would make conscious decisions in having kids. It would naturally aid in the population crisis.

      Very threatening for a government program to suggest, regarding public schools: "they may suppress some behaviors, but they do not confront the causes of those behaviors?" That's because it's the PARENTS RESPONSIBILITY AND NONE OF GOVERNMENT'S BUSINESS! What kind of parents do we have in this country that would hand over their child's upbringing to government? I just don't like government taking control over the people's duty to DO FOR THEMSELVES, LIVING UP TO THEIR PERSONAL AND PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES…

    2. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Ah, but take away the job opportunities and what are the results?

      This survey was conducted long before the Nation was in double didget unemployment. So the goal of Government is now what? To teach children to study hard, work hard in extra activities, be non-violent and go on welfare, because there is no work for them in the future? That the drop outs are making thousands a week on selling drugs, and living high on the hog?

      Seems to me that the Government is approaching this from a wrong direction and a wrong attitude!

      Selling drugs is illegal, but it is Free Enterprise and profitable.

      Being an Illegal Alien is also illegal, but the Government doesn't care about that, so less jobs are available.

      We have a Congress and President who do not even follow the Laws of the Constitution and its Amendments, and they are doing fine, and they are breaking the Law too!

      So it seems that the message we are sending our children is to work hard, study hard, and maybe you too can work for the Government, or go on Welfare, or go the other way into Crime which pays off better statistically than the Stock Market!

      There is something therribly wrong with this picture.

    3. Linda Carlsbad, CA says:

      The DC public schools seem to be the worst schools in the United States. That's is why the kids wanted to go to the charter schools. Better schools, teachers, safer environment. But Obama refuses to give the vouchers anymore. He wants the kids to have to go to the public schools. Why in the world in WDC would the schools be in such poor shape, violent, bad teachers. This is where we give trillions of dollars too. There is no excuse, Wahington is a nightmare, the corruption in unforgivable!

      Until Congress and this President care about the students, nothing is going to change. Their kids go to charter school, private schools. If their kids had to go to public schools, it would change very fast.

    4. richards lyon MD says:

      At Piedmont High School in the thirties all of the girls wore attractive white middies and blue skirts. In this mostly well off community social and cultural lines were obliterated. Pride had taken the place of "show". In D,C, why not make this the first step in gaining the prideful equality we all cherish. Two uniforms per child is a small price to pay. Let's then watch the result and go from there.

    5. Tim Az says:

      When I went to school the popular form of mitigation was to create an impact to the rear end of the offender with a piece of wood. The results would instantly flood the brain of the offender with an epiphany that actions have consequences. It was quite effective and inexpensive. I even had a few experiences with it myself and have not suffered any psychological damamge because of it. In fact have not found anyone who has suffered any psychological damage from a few minutes of discomfort. But I have seen a multitude of people who have no direct experienced of this type punishment for bad behavior choices and the majority have no appreciation for consequences. I was in my last year of school when they ended that part of the education process. We knew the year before that this part of the curriculum was to be no more. We just shook our heads and acknowledged what the results would be from instituting this little jewel of political correctness. And now society must reap the rewards of ineffective discipline in Americas Schools. Just look at what kind of Government we are now experiencing.

      How's that hope and change working out for you?

    6. portague, WA says:

      There is only one comment that fits this article — "Drivvel, total and complete drivvel."

    7. David, Cincinnati, O says:

      Another govt program diminishing the importance of parents in rearing their children: good intentions but that's the pavement of the road to hell.

    8. Wendy Taylor, Glenwo says:

      I just spent Wednesday evening serving a Thanksgiving meal to those in need. OUR Second shift was made up of children of as young as 5 years old with no parent around. When I asked where the parents were I was told that most don't have parents looking after them. Some may have an elderly grandparent, but they are old and didn't come for the meal. These children are on their own and have no one looking out for them. No one to make sure if they are safe, fed and no one to go over their homework. You tell me how a child in this enviroment can achieve. My child and I returned home to our warm home and were grateful, but I found it hard to sleep that night knowing that those children had very little chance of doing well in the greatest country on earth. We better wake up and realize that the only way to help these children is to get envolved and mentor these children. The churches in the suburbs need to set up programs in cities and crime ridden communites and reach out and help the least of these. We need to think beyond our own children and lend a helping hand to those in need. Money is not the answer; it is our time and the ability to

      mentor,care, love and help these chidren to gain freedom from the poverty and lack of opportunity and hope that is missing in their world!

    9. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      Where the quality of education falls below common sense you can expect students to act up. Where students have cleared up their misunderstood words and achieve real academic achievement the amount of graffiti and corruption go down. We are legally supposed to have a free public education and what we have is $250,000 debt for a good High School education, and it is full of Socialist and Communist tripe. Indeed, mind destroying tripe. Bravo you want to give kids some support, but think inside the box for once. Educate them and you won't have the problems of behavior.

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