The No Child Left Behind Act requires state boards of education to identify schools that are unsafe. Schools that are identified by measures such as suspension and expulsion rates are subsequently labeled “persistently dangerous.” To our knowledge there is no published research that attempts to characterize fighting behavior among youth who may attend schools designated as “persistently dangerous.” Two hundred and thirteen sixth grade African American boys and girls attending two urban middle schools on probation for “persistently dangerous” status were examined to investigate differences in demographic characteristics of gender and age and predictor factors of non-parental adult mentorship, parental acceptance of fighting behavior, and peer fighting. These analyses suggest a relationship between the number of peers who fight, youth who believed their parents endorse fighting, and youth without non parental adult mentorship were more likely to fight. This study also indicates that regardless of school status there are modifiable predictors associated with early adolescent fighting.
Keywords: Persistently Dangerous, Mentoring, Early Adolescence, Fighting, Parents