Child and Family Behavioral Health

CFBH Banner

USF School Safety Study

The Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act was enacted in 2018 to improve school safety by providing grants to states, local governments, and Indian tribes. Under this legislation, the Bureau of Justice Administration, or the BJA, was allocated $50 million per year to dedicated towards grants for mental health and violence prevention training and education for school personnel and students,  as well as the development or enhancement of threat assessment systems and crisis response teams. In the first two years, 2018 and 2019, 43 and 85 grantees were awarded funding for STOP programs, respectively.

In 2020, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) awarded funding to researchers to study the implementation of the first STOP programs. A cross-disciplinary team of researchers from the Child and Family Studies Department and the College of Education received an NIJ grant to study the STOP programs from the first two years of the grant program. Some of our aims for conducting this study were to understand how implementation was carried out, what types of components met different needs of school communities, what the perceived barriers and facilitators of implementation were, what led to better satisfaction with implementation. Finally, we hoped to gain insight into how some of the lessons learned from implementing these programs can inform ongoing violence prevention and mental health training efforts in schools.

The two main components of our study involved a cross-site survey sent to representatives from grantee agencies who have been involved in implementing programs or training from STOP grants. Questions in the survey asked about implementation factors, barriers and facilitators to implementation, the capacity of schools at each site to address mental health, satisfaction of the implementation process, and how COVID-19 has impacted the implementation of STOP programs. There was also an opportunity to share open feedback. This survey was administered once in 2021 and once in 2022. The second part of the study was a case study, which was a more in-depth analysis of a smaller sample of grantee agencies. We conducted stakeholder interviews, meeting observations, and document review to gain insights on participant experiences with implementation of STOP programs and what social, political, and cultural factors may have affected implementation.

Findings from the study can be found here:

All study-related documents have been made publicly available through the National Archive of Justice Data (NACJD).

For questions, please contact the Principal Investigators, Anna Abella ( and Amy Vargo (