This pilot initiative in the Palm Beach County school district — the School Safety and Student Performance Program — proceeded from the premise that improved school safety requires closer attention to law enforcement- and justice-involved youth. The program was designed to identify ways to discourage delinquency and encourage academic success among at-risk youth without being punitive. Another goal was to improve the overall safety of the school setting. To measure the program’s impact against its ambitious goals and implementation plan, a research team led by Florida State University, working with the Palm Beach schools, performed a three-part assessment featuring a rigorous randomized controlled trial. The study, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, measured program effects at the student and school levels and assessed how well the program’s implementation matched the plan. The study found that the Palm Beach schools intervention was “well-grounded in theory and research on adolescent behavior,” but overall, “there were no consistent beneficial or adverse effects of the intervention on either student or school outcomes,” the research report said.
At-Risk Youth in Schools: A Wraparound Delinquency Prevention Program Produces Disappointing Results
National Institute of Justice