An Evidence-Based Practice


PeaceBuilders is a schoolwide violence prevention program for elementary and middle schools (K-8). A high school program is also being piloted in several locations. The program incorporates a strategy to change the school climate created by staff and students and is designed to promote prosocial behavior among students and adults. Children learn six simple principles: 1) praise people, 2) avoid put-downs, 3) seek wise people as advisers and friends, 4) notice and correct hurts you cause, 5) right wrongs, and 6) help others. Adults reinforce and model behaviors at school, at home, and in public places.

Nine broad behavior-change techniques are used: 1) common language for community norms, 2) story and live models for positive behavior, 3) environmental cues to signal desired behavior, 4) role-plays to increase range of responses, 5) rehearsals of positive solutions after negative events and response cost as "punishment" for negative behavior, 6) group and individual rewards to strengthen positive behavior, 7) threat reduction to reduce reactivity, 8) self- and peer-monitoring for positive behavior, and 9) generalization promotion to increase maintenance of change across time, places, and people.

Goal / Mission

The goal of this program is to reduce youth violence and aggressive behavior by initiating prevention early in childhood, increasing children's resilience, and reinforcing positive behaviors.

Results / Accomplishments

This program was evaluated using an experimental design with pretest and posttest measures. Eight elementary schools (grades K-5) in Pima County, Ariz., were selected from two large school districts to participate on the basis of their having high rates of juvenile arrests and histories of suspensions and expulsions. The evaluation found that from August 2000 through February 2001 there was an 89 percent decrease in physical aggression. Further, from February to May 2000 there was an 82 percent decrease in verbal aggression. When visits to the school nurse were analyzed, results indicated that between 1993-94 and 1994-95, the rate of weekly injury-related visits per thousand student-days significantly decreased--by 12.6 percent--in the intervention schools, with no significant change observed in the control schools. Rates of confirmed fighting-related injuries did not change significantly in the intervention schools but increased 56 percent in the control schools.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Michelle Molina
PeacePartners, Inc.
236 East Third Street, Suite 217
Long Beach, CA 90802-3174
(877) 473-2236
Education / School Environment
Social Environment / Children's Social Environment
PeacePartners, Inc.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Model Programs Guide (MPG)
Date of publication
Pima County, AZ
For more details
Target Audience

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