Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RiPP) is a school-based violence prevention program designed to provide students ages 10–14 in middle and junior high schools with conflict resolution strategies and skills. RiPP is designed to be implemented along with a peer mediation program. It combines a classroom curriculum of social/cognitive problem solving with real-life skill-building opportunities. Students learn to apply critical-thinking skills and personal management strategies to personal health and well-being issues. Delivered over the school year, RiPP teaches key concepts that include:
- The importance of significant friends or adult mentors.
- The relationship between self-image and gang-related behaviors.
- The effects of environmental influences on personal health.
Using a variety of lessons and activities, students learn about the physical and mental development that occurs during adolescence, how to analyze the consequences of personal choices on health and well-being, learn that they have nonviolent options when conflicts arise, and experience the benefits of being a positive family and community role model.
RiPP was originally developed to meet the needs of public school students in Richmond, Virginia. Most of the students in this school system are African Americans, and many come from low-income, single-parent households in neighborhoods with high rates of crime and drug use. RiPP also has been implemented in racially diverse, rural school systems in Florida. The empirical and theoretical foundations of RiPP suggest that it could be adapted for many types of communities. RiPP has been implemented in more than 50 middle schools in the United States.
Multiple studies reported benefits in self-reported experience of violent and aggressive behavior for students who received RiPP compared with peers who did not receive the intervention, including:
- Lower rates of being injured in a fight in the past 30 days in which the injuries required medical attention
- Higher rates of participation in peer mediation
- Among girls only, lower rates of threatening to hurt a teacher
- Among 7th-grade RiPP participants, less frequent violent behavior at 6-month follow-up
- Lower frequency of physical aggression, despite the observation that both RiPP participants and their peers demonstrated an increase in problem behaviors over time
- At 9-month follow-up, reduced rates of bringing a weapon to school, threatening someone with a weapon, and sustaining fight-related injuries in the past 30 days
General delinquency involvement
High alcohol/drug use
Lack of guilt and empathy
Violence at age 13
Frequent truancy/absences/suspensions; expelled from school; dropping out of school
Low academic aspirations
Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school
Poor school attitude/performance; academic failure
Poor student-teacher relations
Poorly defined rules and expectations for appropriate conduct
Poorly organized and functioning schools/inadequate school climate/negative labeling by teachers
Trouble at school
Exposure to violence and racial prejudice
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
Association with gang-involved peers/relatives
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Registry of Effective Programs and Practices: Effective program
Safe and Drug Free Schools, U.S. Department of Education: Promising program
CrimeSolutions.gov: Promising program
To learn more about implementation, contact:
Wendy B. Northup, M.A.
Phone: (804) 301-4909
E-mail: [email protected]
To learn more about research, contact:
Albert D. Farrell, Ph.D.
Phone: (804) 828-8796
E-mail: [email protected]
Farrell, A. D., and Meyer, A. L. (1997). “The Effectiveness of a School-Based Curriculum for Reducing Violence Among Urban Sixth-Grade Students.” American Journal of Public Health, 87:979–984.
Meyer, A. L., and Farrell, A. D. (1998). “Social Skills Training to Promote Resilience and Reduce Violence in African-American Middle School Students.” Education and Treatment of Children, 21(4):461–488.
Meyer, A. L.; Farrell, A. D.; Northup, W. B.; Kung, E. M.; and Plybon, L. (2000). Promoting Nonviolence in Early Adolescence: Responding In Peaceful and Positive Ways. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
Farrell, A. D., Meyer, A. L., & White, K. S. (2001). “Evaluation of Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RIPP): A school-based prevention program for reducing violence among urban adolescents.” Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 30(4): 451-463.
Farrell, A. D., Valois, R. F., & Meyer, A. L. (2002). “Evaluation of the RiPP-6 violence prevention program at a rural middle school.” American Journal of Health Education, 33(3): 167-172.
Farrell, A. D., Meyer, A. L., Sullivan, T. N., & Kung, E. M. (2003). “Evaluation of the Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RIPP) seventh grade violence prevention curriculum.” Journal of Child and Family Studies, 12(1): 101-120.
Farrell, A. D., Valois, R. F., Meyer, A. L., & Tidwell, R. P. (2003). “Impact of the RIPP violence prevention program on rural middle school students.” Journal of Primary Prevention, 24(2): 143-167.
Meyer, A. L., & Farrell, A. D. (1998). Social skills training to promote resilience in urban sixth grade students: One product of an action research strategy to prevent youth violence in high-risk environments.” Education and Treatment of Children, 21(4): 461-488.