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Dr. Emily Sweitzer

Posted on August 13, 2010

Dr. Emily Sweitzer, associate professor of justice and behavioral crime and director of the Justice Studies program, appeared on WPXI-TV's Aug. 23 newscasts as part of the channel's "Target 11 Investigates" series.

Sweitzer was interviewed by WPXI's Rick Earle for a report on violence in 11 of the largest Pittsburgh area high schools.

Sweitzer was asked to analyze various state school violence reports and comment on school violence and intervention strategies. Her analysis found that students ages 14-18 have the greatest number of behavioral violations and truancy issues.

"The schools appear to be doing an excellent job in identifying and reporting violations, as well as recognizing and intervening in acts of violence," Sweitzer said. "We now need to transition into an intervention stage and focus, which involves more intense involvement of school, community, parents and programming."

This is a significant challenge, Sweitzer said.

"This is difficult do, because of funding constraints and curriculum mandates," she said. "We can begin by trying, as much as possible and feasible, to link the consequences to the inappropriate behavior - not just providing a discipline slip, but instead using this as an opportunity to educate and teach appropriate behavior responses."

Sweitzer emphasized that she regularly incorporates information about specific aspects of school violence in all of her classes, such as conducting threat assessments; identifying personal, familial and situational risk factors; and understanding the nature, catalysts for and consequences of youth violence.

Click here to see the investigative report and interview with Dr. Sweitzer