Teacher and principal perceptions of student victimization and the schools' response to violence: The contributions of context on staff congruence

Susan Stone, Ron Astor, Rami Benbenishty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Consistency in staff awareness and response is a key programmatic centerpiece in most school violence prevention and intervention programs. Staff consensus on the definition of violence, the behaviors that constitute violence, the extent of the problem, and how to deal with violent situations are often the cornerstone of evidence-based programs. Nevertheless, little is known theoretically or empirically about the staff and school variables that shape principal and teacher consensus in recognition of the problem or the response to violence. To explore these issues, this study drew on a nested national sample of Israeli schools (1352 teachers; 186 principals and schools) to explore staff and school correlates of the extent of congruence in staff reports of awareness of and response to school violence and victimization. We drew on Rasch analytic techniques to measure the extent of staff congruence about frequency of student victimization, risky behaviors and school response. Overall, student-reported risky behavior accounted for congruence in staff reports of student victimization and risky behavior and was consistent across Jewish and Arab school systems. Staff reports of student victimization and risk shaped the school's response violent events, but important differences were observed across Jewish and Arab school systems. For example, the findings suggest that above and beyond all the school contextual factors, staff in religious Jewish and Arab schools reported less student victimization and less school response to violent situations. Implications for practice, theory, and future research in the school violence literature are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-213
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research
Volume48
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the many students, principals, teachers, supervisors, and administrators who generously gave their time and support to make this study possible. The study was funded by a grant from the Israeli Ministry of Education. The authors also express their thanks to anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments.

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