The School Responder Model (SRM): Virtual Toolbox is a website developed to help schools and communities access helpful resources related to implementing an SRM.

Since the 1980s, the rise of zero-tolerance policies and exclusionary discipline policies in response to incidents of student violence and misconduct resulted in an increase in law enforcement involvement in schools. Suspended students are less likely to graduate on time and are more likely to repeat a grade, drop out of school, and become involved in the juvenile justice system. Widespread disproportionality in school disciplinary rates for students of color and students with disabilities contributes to the need for an alternative approach that reduces the likelihood of youth who may need behavioral health services to be involved in the justice system.

The SRM evolved from the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative. Between 2007 and 2011, the National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice (NCYOJ), in collaboration with the Foundation, coordinated an Action Network comprised of eight states (Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana, and Washington [Models for Change states], Colorado, Connecticut, Ohio, and Texas [selected additional states]). The Action Network was focused on developing and testing innovative and effective responses to the mental health needs of youth brought into the juvenile justice system.

NCYOJ originally developed and maintained this resource. The NCYOJ was operated by Policy Research, Inc. and operated from 2001 to 2022 and was formerly known as the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. The NCYOJ improved life opportunities for youth through systems and practice improvement initiatives.

This resource should be viewed as a reference document. It has not been updated since its publication. In addition, this document has not been made 508 compliant. If you would like a 508 compliant version of this resource, please email

This resource was first shared in 2005.