When Juvenile Crime Comes to School

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After a brief examination of the creation of the public school system resting on historical and philosophical notions of good order and discipline, this study examines the extent and patterns of juvenile crime, and posits a theoretical model of school crime based on family, home economics, and demography, in association with minority status and educational elements, exacerbated by drugs, gangs and weapons. For 90 consecutive days in 1994, a sample of 50 public school districts in Texas participated in a school crime reporting experiment. Scrupulous attention was paid to the recording of criminal incidents and their associated offenses in the sample districts. This afforded a rare opportunity to analyze empirical data relating to actual criminal offenses on public school campuses. This study gives detailed descriptions of numbers of incidents, offenses, age and sex of offenders, place of offense, involvement of drugs, gangs, and weapons.


“. . . brings a welcome empirical focus to an over-sensationalized and under-studied phenomenon: school crime. . . . Two important contributions are made here. First, the author uses a rather unique data set to study actual crime – i.e. offenses actually reported and recorded. This is a fairly sharp contrast to the public opinion data sources that are more commonly employed as a measure of the school crime ‘problem’. Second, the author mounts a persuasive argument that the determinants of school crime differ little from the determinants of crime generally. . . . a solid work on an important and understudied topic. . . a substantive contribution to a debate that has for all too long been made in an empirical vacuum.” –Kevin Smith

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Foreword, Preface, Introduction
1. Public Schools as Special Places: American Public School – a brief history and an inquiry into the need for order; philosophical contributions of John Dewey; legal considerations regarding the good order of schools and the safety of students; where we are now
2. Juvenile Delinquency: trends in juvenile crime; juvenile justice in America; patterns of juvenile crime; influences upon juvenile delinquency -–drugs, gangs and violence; juvenile delinquency in Texas
3. School Crime - An Overview: opinion polls; confidentiality of student records – Federal, and Texas
4. School Crime – Facts at Last: survey design and sampling procedure; the big picture – incidents by age, sex and school enrollment; importance of demography; California school crime
5. Relationships – School Crime and the School Community: family/home characteristics of School districts; economics; demographics; ethnic and racial characteristics; education characteristics; school crime and crime rates ; serious vs. nonserious school crime; serious crime in Texas school districts; multivariate analysis of factors associated with school crime
6. Schools Act and React: administrative characteristics of school districts; school configurations of security and safety arrangements; additional responses to the problem of school crime; national school programs; state of Texas school programs; national juvenile justice programs; juvenile delinquency prevention in Texas
7. Some Final Thoughts
References, Bibliography, Index