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Informing America’s Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don’t Know Keeps Hurting Us
engagement in the learning process and hence increase their academic performance and bonding to the school (e.g., cooperative learning techniques and “experiential learning” strategies) and classroom organization and management strategies. The latter include activities to establish and enforce classroom rules, uses of rewards and punishments, time management to reduce down-time, strategies for grouping students within the class, and the use of external resources, such as parent volunteers, police officers, and professional consultants as instructors or aides. The Seattle Social Development Project (Hawkins et al., 1992) relied in large part on such classroom and instructional management strategies.
Regrouping students. Schools can reorganize classes or grades to create smaller units, continuing interaction, or different mixes of students or to provide greater flexibility in instruction. This category includes changes in the school schedule (e.g., block scheduling, scheduling more periods in the day, changes in the lengths of instructional periods); adoption of schools-within-schools or similar arrangements; tracking into classes by ability, achievement, effort, or conduct; formation of grade-level “houses” or “teams”; and decreasing class size. These changes are often intended to increase sources of social control for students.
Exclusion of intruders and contraband. These interventions are designed to prevent intruders (who might be drug dealers) from entering the school. They include the use of identification badges, visitor’s passes, security personnel posted at school entrances, locks, cameras, and other surveillance methods. They also include efforts to prevent contraband from entering the school, such as locker searches and drug-sniffing dogs. These strategies are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 6.
Manipulation of school composition. These interventions determine who will be enrolled in the school and include such strategies as the use of selective admissions practices, assignment of students with problem behavior to “alternative schools,” and other exclusionary or inclusionary practices. Zero-tolerance policies, which automatically expel students who bring drugs to school, are an example of such a strategy. These sanction-related policies are discussed at greater length in Chapter 6.
Although little is known about the extent to which these different prevention strategies are used in local communities, a recent national study of school-based prevention attempted to describe the prevalence of prevention strategies used in schools (Gottfredson et al., 2000). The investigators asked school principals to report which of 14 types of discretionary prevention activities—instruction, counseling, norm change, recreation, etc. —were currently in place in their schools, and to name each specific activity currently under way in each of the 14 categories. On average, principals reported 9 of the 14 types of prevention activities under way in their schools. The median number of different specific pre-