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Impact of a School-Based, Multi-Tiered Emotional and Behavioral Health Crisis Intervention on School Safety and Discipline

NCJ Number
Prevention Science Volume: 22 Issue: 4 Dated: 2021 Pages: 492-503
J. H. Bohnenkamp; et al
Date Published
12 pages

This study, funded as part of the National Institute of Justice Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, used a randomized controlled study design to evaluate the impact of a multi-component package of crisis prevention and response interventions on school safety and discipline outcomes, including suspensions, office discipline referrals, bullying reports, juvenile justice referrals, threat assessments, and follow-up procedures.


Forty schools participated, all in a culturally diverse Mid-Atlantic, U.S. school system spanning urban, suburban, and rural areas. The Emotional and Behavioral Health–Crisis Response and Prevention (EBH-CRP) intervention is a comprehensive training, organizational, and support protocol for school and community stakeholders aimed at increasing competence in preventing and responding to student EBH crises using multiple evidence-informed strategies that address emotional and behavioral health concerns across the continuum of supports. Results indicate that the EBH-CRP intervention had a significant positive effect on suspensions, office discipline referrals, and juvenile justice referrals for secondary schools. In addition, the intervention had positive effects on the number of bullying reports overall, with a strong impact on primary schools. The intervention also had positive effects in maintaining more use of threat assessment and follow-up procedures. Although the intervention had a significant positive effect on secondary school–level suspensions, there was no impact on racial/ethnic disproportionality rates for this outcome. Implications for school safety are discussed. (publisher abstract modified)