Determinant factors for school violence: A study of the McComb, Mississippi school system

Robert Bruce Hunt

Abstract

Increased school violence has fostered the need for school administrators to understand the perceptions of fear that affect their students. Federal funds to develop programs, implement security measures, hire resource officers and professional counselors, and support research have been made available to schools, police departments, and institutions of higher education. This research project was made possible as a result of a COPS grant awarded to the McComb School District and the McComb Police Department. A portion of that grant provided funding for a study conducted at the school in conjunction with The University of Southern Mississippi's Criminal Justice Department. The subjects of the study students from Denman Junior High School and McComb High School. Key elements of the study were to determine the students perception's of fear in different physical locations at school, traveling to and from school, and while at extracurricular activities. Other factors of concern pertained to drug availability and gang presence. A population sample of 54 participants from the junior high and 125 participants from the high school, out of a total population of 435 and 819 respectively, took part in the survey. A survey instrument consisting of 85 questions was used, based on a modified Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention school safety survey. Questions with a distinct urban bias were eliminated. Absent a statistically significant difference being found, data from the two schools were pooled. The data were also compared to results from the Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report , U.S. Department of Justice, and Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.