This report features the purpose, components, implementation, and evaluation of Project SOARS (Student Ownership, Accountability, and Responsibility for School Safety), a school program designed to involve students in the promotion of school safety.
The features of SOARS are based on data that show 1) high and stable rates of peer victimization at school that disproportionately affects students based on their gender, race, and sexual orientation; 2) a link between peer victimization and retaliatory violence against individuals or entire school communities; 3) evidence of prior peer knowledge of the violent intentions of fellow students; and 4) students’ reluctance to share this knowledge with school adults to help prevent violence. The student-centered and technology-driven SOARS framework features a reporting tool (“Advocatr”) that is accessible via mobile phone or website. Only students with a user account can access the tool and sign-in with their username and password. The app enables students to report “Something Wrong,” as well as “Something Right.” Students can choose from a menu of behaviors and describe their experience. The SOARS coordinator addresses the concern as soon as possible within the school’s discipline policy and can also address the concern in-person or obtain more information in attempting to resolve the issue. The initial implementation and testing of SOARS is described in this report. A feasibility test was conducted with 10 teachers and 121 students in the teachers’ classrooms. Teacher- and parent-reported changes in students behavior were positive. A pilot test was conducted with four high schools (two experimental and two controls). Findings are discussed in the context of current approaches to school safety . 13 tables, 1 figure, and 18 references