AERA Statement on the Justice Department’s Announced Cancellation of School Safety Studies

Tony Pals,
(202) 238-3235, (202) 288-9333 (cell)

Collin Boylin,
(202) 238-3233, (860) 490-8326 (cell)

Statement by AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine on the Justice Department’s Announced Cancellation of School Safety Studies

March 27, 2018

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, has announced on its website that it has cancelled two initiatives that research school safety—the (1) Comprehensive School Safety Initiative and (2) Research and Evaluation of Technologies to Improve School Safety. 

The NIJ reported that the FY 2018 appropriations bill passed on March 23 eliminated funding for the programs: “With the enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, the funding planned for these solicitations is no longer available for research and evaluation. Instead, it will be used for other purposes under the Stop School Violence Act of 2018.”

Our concern is not about the passage of the Stop School Violence Act, but about the de-funding and cancellation of these research efforts.  Losing these programs is tragically counter-productive and short-sighted at a time when the need for evidence-based policies and practices that protect schools, students, and society has never been greater.

Congress needs to invest in—not slash—investments that help school and policy leaders better understand the root causes of school violence, develop strategies for increasing school safety, and rigorously evaluate innovative efforts.

On March 2, AERA joined the broader science community in calling on Congress to provide dedicated federal funding for research on gun violence. AERA has also asked association members and other Americans to show their support by signing the March for Science petition and contacting their elected representatives.

Now is the time for our leaders in Washington, D.C., to support funding for more high-quality empirical research that can inform evidence-based policies and programs to prevent gun violence in the United States. We urge Congress to support and promote research-based programs and policies to reduce the risk of violence in communities, schools, workplaces, settings of worship, and other public spaces.

There is too much at stake for Congress not to act.


About AERA
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. Founded in 1916, AERA advances knowledge about education, encourages scholarly inquiry related to education, and promotes the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. Find AERA on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.