The Benefits, Risks, and Challenges of Get-Tough and Support-Oriented Approaches to Improving School Safety

Daniel P. Mears, Andrea N. Montes, Nicole L. Collier, Sonja E. Siennick, George B. Pesta, Samantha J. Brown, Thomas G. Blomberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Schools have adopted get-tough policies and support-oriented policies, each of which creates not only potential benefits but also potential risks for youth delinquency and education. This article identifies potential benefits and risks of get-tough approaches and support-oriented approaches, respectively, to reduce delinquency. It then identifies challenges that can arise when schools seek to balance both get-tough and support-oriented policies. We illustrate these challenges by drawing on prior scholarship on these policies as well as a process evaluation of a large metropolitan school district’s pilot initiative to promote school safety and academic performance by assisting court-involved youth. We argue for developing a stronger empirical foundation for school-based approaches that aim to improve school safety and educational outcomes of youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1342-1367
Number of pages26
JournalCriminal Justice Policy Review
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019



  • delinquency
  • get-tough
  • schools
  • support-oriented

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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