A new case study by Baylor University found improved student behavior and performance at high-risk middle and high schools that used the “Violence-Free Zone” or VFZ.
The “Violence-Free Zone” (VFZ) is the national model of mentoring students in areas with high levels of crime and violence. The program addresses behaviors that result in truancies, suspensions, violent incidents, involvement in drugs and gangs and poor academic performance in public middle and high schools.
Study leaders Byron Johnson, Ph.D. and William Wubbenhorst evaluated schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Richmond, Virginia, from 2007 to 2013. Among other findings, the pair noted:
- 44 percent reduction in the average number of suspensions per student
- 18 percent increase in the average grade point average
- 31 percent decrease in the average number of violent incidents per VFZ student per month
- estimated lifetime savings of $8.32 for every $1 invested in the VFZ program.
The lifetime savings figure is based on reduced administrative costs from fewer suspensions; reduced police costs from service calls; reduced juvenile detention costs; lower truancy rates; savings from a reduced number of auto thefts within 1,000 feet of the school; savings from reductions of such high-risk behaviors as drinking, violence against intimate partners or violence against oneself; and projected increases in lifetime earning associated with higher high school graduation and college enrollment rates.