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Peer Warning Program
Peer Warning Program | Model School Protected Communication Policy

CAVEAT:  Schaefer-Schiumo and Ginsberg (2003) raise a warning about the effectiveness of the Warning Signs video with urban minority high-risk students.  As they note, the video utilizes youth offenders from predominantly white, suburban and rural areas, who deal with “bottled up” explosions of violence, rather than minority youth who are exposed to daily bouts of aggression and violence.  There is a need to tailor the discussions topics and video materials to the needs of the specific population.  Merely importing materials that have been developed for other populations into one’s school may prove ineffective and focus limited resources on questionable interventions.  There is a need to build-in evaluation of any intervention program.  See Seven Steps to a Safe School


  1. Create an environment where students feel safe and confident about sharing information about threats and warning signs about violence.
  2. Establish a Protected Communication Policy, where students feel safe sharing information about possible threats to safety which will not put the reporting student “at risk”.  Protected Communication Policy
  3. Create a procedure or forum for students, parents and teachers to share concerns.  For example, implement an anonymous hotline or a joint hotline across several schools.
  4. Nurture an attitude in which reporting threats is a positive way to provide help for persons to work out problems in order to prevent injury and death to that person and others.  Sharing information is a way of helping individuals in need. Sharing is a way to be a “crime-stopper” and “helper” and not be a “snitch” that is breaking a “code of silence”.
  5. A Peer Warning Program can complement the implementation of a Peer Mediation Program.


Peterson, J. L., & Newman, R. (2000). Helping to curb youth violence. The APA-MTV
          ìwarning signsî initiative. Professional Psychology, 31, 509-514.
Schaefer-Schiumo, K., & Ginsberg, A. P. (2003). The effectiveness of the Warning Signs
         program in educating youth about violence prevention: A study withurban high school
         students. Professional School Counseling.
         ( or contact

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This web site has been produced by The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment to provide research-based school violence prevention procedures for educators. The web site has been made possible with the generous support of the Robert and Renee Belfer Foundation and other supporters.
The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment to provide research-based school violence prevention procedures for educators
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