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Too Good for Violence

Ages 5-18

Rating: Level 1


Too Good for Violence (TGFV) is a school-based violence prevention/character education program that improves student behavior and minimizes aggression. TGFV helps students in kindergarten through 12th grade learn the skills they need to get along peacefully with others. In both content and teaching methods, the program teaches students positive attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. It builds skills sequentially and at each grade level provides developmentally appropriate curricula designed to address the most significant risk and protective factors. TGFV promotes what it calls a “C.A.R.E.–ing” approach to violence prevention by teaching Conflict resolution, Anger management, Respect for self and others, and Effective communication.

The program consists of student curricula with seven 30- to 60-minute lessons per grade for kindergarten through fifth grade, nine 30- to 45-minute lessons for sixth through eighth grade and fourteen 60-minute lessons for ninth through twelfth grade. Trained teachers, counselors, or prevention specialists deliver the program in classrooms with 20 to 35 students. Each grade-level kit includes everything needed for successful implementation: a scripted curriculum, workbooks, and teaching materials such as posters, games, CDs, and visual aids. Each lesson includes rationale, objectives, character education traits, a materials list, recommended resources, and suggestions for lesson extensions. Curricula also include Home Workouts: Information and Exercises for Parents and Kids, to be copied and sent home. TGFV also includes supplemental activities (lesson extenders that can be used to infuse violence prevention/character education skills into subject areas such as music, physical education, and language arts) as well as community activities, recommended books, videos, and other resources.

The optimal dosage for TGFV is once a week: for 7 weeks in grades K–5; for 9 weeks in grades 6 to 8; and 14 weeks for the high school core curriculum. The high school curriculum—Too Good for Drugs and Violence—High School, which contains substance-abuse prevention components—has 12 infusion lessons. Reviewing and practicing skills between and following lessons is strongly recommended. For maximum effect, the program should involve students, their families, and the entire school in using all of the program’s components.

The program’s highly interactive teaching methods encourage students to bond with prosocial peers and engage students through role-playing, cooperative learning, games, small-group activities, and class discussions. TGFV teaches that each student has what it takes to solve conflicts peaceably and provides opportunities to practice peacemaking and antibullying skills.


Five studies conducted by independent evaluators have examined the effectiveness of TGFV. In the most recent and comprehensive evaluation to date, 10 elementary schools from a large Florida school district were randomly selected and recruited for participation. Schools were stratified by location, size, academic performance, and socioeconomic status. A total of 46 teachers and 999 third grade students participated. The student sample was 48 percent female, with the ethnic breakdown 44 percent white, 12.5 percent African-American, 36 percent Hispanic, 5 percent multiracial, 2 percent Asian-American, and 0.5 percent American Indian. Fifty-four percent of the students were categorized as economically challenged by receipt of reduced or free lunch services, 20 percent received exceptional education services, and 17 percent received limited English proficiency services.

Students in five elementary schools participated in the prevention program during the 1st quarter of the school year. Students in the other five schools served as the control sample for the study. Trained TGFV instructors delivered the prevention program to students in the treatment schools in 40- to 50-minute lessons once a week over a 7-week period. Students in the treatment and control group were administered survey questionnaires before, immediately following, and 20 weeks after program delivery.


Studies showed positive effects on risk and protective factors related to student violence in kindergarten through 12th grade and related to alcohol, tobacco, and drug use in grades 9 through 12.

Decreases in Substance Use
Among high school students grades 9–12, intentions to use were reduced 58 percent for smoking cigarettes, 50 percent for drinking alcohol, and 45 percent for smoking marijuana.

Improvements in Positive Attitudes/Behaviors
TGFV significantly enhanced students’ emotional competence, communication skills, and social and conflict resolution skills. Teachers observed significantly more frequent use of prosocial personal and social skills and behaviors.

Reductions in Negative Attitudes/Behaviors
Among high school students, intentions to fight were reduced 45 percent.

These results were consistent across ethnic backgrounds, genders, and socioeconomic statuses.

Risk Factors


  • Anti-social behavior and alienation/Delinquent beliefs/General delinquency involvement/Drug dealing
  • Early onset of aggression and/or violence


  • Association with delinquent and/or aggressive peers
  • Peer alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drug use

Protective Factors


  • Positive / Resilient temperament
  • Self-efficacy
  • Social competencies and problem-solving skills


  • Opportunities for prosocial school involvement
  • Rewards for prosocial school involvement
  • Student bonding (attachment to teachers, belief, commitment)


  • Good relationships with peers
  • Involvement with positive peer group activities


  • SAMHSA: Model Programs


Bacon, Tina P. 2001a. “Evaluation of the Too Good for Drugs and Violence High School Prevention Program.” Tallahassee, Fla.: Florida Department of Education, Department of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.

———. 2001b. “Impact on High School Students’ Behaviors and Protective Factors: A Pilot Study of the Too Good for Drugs and Violence Prevention Program.” Florida Educational Research Council, Inc, Research Bulletin 32(3 and 4):1–40.

———. 2002. “Evaluation of the Too Good for Drugs and Violence High School Prevention Program.” Tampa, Fla.: Hillsborough County Antidrug Alliance Criminal Justice/Substance Abuse Coordination Section.

———. 2004. “Technical Report: Pilot Study of the Too Good for Drugs and Violence Afterschool Activities Program.” Tampa, Fla.: C.E. Mendez Foundation, Inc.

Hall, Bruce W., and Tina P. Bacon. 2006 (in press). “Building a Foundation Against Violence: Impact of a School-Based Prevention Program on Elementary Students.” Journal of School Violence.

Mendez Foundation. 2003. “The Effects of the Too Good for Violence Prevention Program on Student Behaviors and Protective Factors.” Tampa, Fla.


Christianne Powell
Mendez Foundation
601 South Magnolia Avenue
Tampa, FL 33606
Phone: (800) 750-0986
Fax: (813) 251-3237
Web site:

Technical Assistance Provider

Anne Compton
Mendez Foundation
601 South Magnolia Avenue
Tampa, FL 33606
Phone: (800) 750-0986
Fax: (813) 251-3237
Web site: