Making the Smart Choice: A systemic response to school-based violence

Douglas C. Breunlin*, Rocco A. Cimmarusti, Joshua S. Hetherington, Jayne Kinsman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper reports on a school-based intervention in which a family therapist, serving as a consultant to a high school, worked with that school to reduce the level of school-based violence. The primary intervention reported in this paper is a conflict skills training programme called 'Making the Smart Choice'. While designed for the families of students suspended for physical violence, this intervention also impacts upon the school's disciplinary system and the climate of the school itself. The context or responses to school-based violence, the strategy to gain access to the school, the politics of developing such a programme, the programme itself and the infrastructure needed to maintain it are described. For four years, suspensions for school-based violence were halved compared to the four years prior to the start of the programme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-266
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Family Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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