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Youth crime in high schools: A theoretical discussion

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The public perception of inner-city school in Canadian urban centers.
  3. The Safe School Study conducted by The National Institute of Education.
    1. Outsiders not responsible for most school crime and violence.
    2. Viewing school crime as an external rather than an internal problem.
    3. The assumption that offenders and victims are different groups.
    4. The consensus from the research.
  4. Gun control in the United States.
  5. The effects of compulsory school attendance and enforcing school regulations.
  6. Conclusion.
  7. Bibliography.

No study of youth crime would be complete without an examination of how it applies within high schools. The presence of disorder and delinquency in school and on school grounds is a growing problem. Most secondary school have some students who disrupt the classroom and threaten the safety of other students and teachers. In some cases, this can escalate into serious violence like stabbings or shootings. This type of incident recently happened in Toronto, and it sent shock waves through the local media, especially because it happened on the grounds of a high school. It was the Bendale Business and Technical Institute shooting, where a 16-year old boy was shot in the chest in the parking lot of the school. The alleged shooter is an 18-year old student from the same school, and it is thought that the altercation started because of a stolen cell-phone. While the boy did not die from this would, he was in critical condition and will never fully recover from the wound.

[...] These findings are supported by those of a study in which it was concluded that individual student characteristics such as effort, belief in rules, and positive peer associations exert stronger influence on students conduct. (Welsh et al., 1999: 106). The study also found that outsiders are not responsible for most school crime and violence. Except for cases of trespassing and incidents of breaking and entering during non-school hours, most offences (74 to 98 percent) are committed by youths enrolled in the school. [...]

[...] Concentrating crime prevention efforts only on the school is unlikely to have a long-term significant impact, especially for schools located in high-crime communities. (Barron, 2000: 91). School policies which focus on tighter security, stricter discipline, and similar crime control approaches may well reduce disruption and crime in the school but simply displace the problems to the community. Likewise, suspending or expelling disruptive students without referral to an alternative program simply puts them out on the street with nothing to do. [...]

[...] A complete school safety plan should include an assessment of security needs, a school security plan that is appropriate to each school, a clear statement of school policies and regulations that is communicated to students and parents, school staff training to improve skills in discipline and classroom management, a system for recording and reporting all school crime incidents, regular communication and a close working relationship with law enforcement and juvenile court officials, and a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of school resource officers and security officers. [...]

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