“The school-to-prison pipeline starts and ends with schools,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, in 2013.
When kids are in the classroom, they are much less likely to engage in risky behaviors. It is so important that school districts across the country do what they can to keep young people in school, and off the street. Suspension and expulsion are warranted at times, but providing struggling young people with support can prevent the need, in many cases.
The juvenile crime rate, especially violent youth offenses, is on the decline, The San Francisco Chronicle reports. While law enforcement experts point out that crime is cyclical, an unexpected, three-decade trend is underway. Since the 1990s, youth assaults, homicides, theft, and truancy have steadily decreased.
When a unique pattern occurs, it is only natural for experts to speculate on the reasons why. The school-to-prison pipeline still exists, but it seems that some initiatives have had a welcome effect. Perhaps most interesting is that the decline in youth violent crime transcends demographics.
What’s Behind The Youth Crime Drop?
There are so many variables to consider, factors that could influence juvenile crime rates. It’s challenging to put one’s finger on the driving force behind the decrease in youth criminality. Jill Tucker, writing for the SF Chronicle, lays out some of the likely catalysts in ever-falling youth crime rates in the United States. Tucker has been writing about education in California for 18 years.
Some leading theories on what is influencing this nationwide trend include a decline in “crack” cocaine use, according to the article. In the 1980s and ’90s, urban youths were exploited by drug dealers to sell crack on “the corner.” Adolescents and teens were ideal candidates because they are not subject to adult drug laws.
Other leading hypotheses for the trend in question involve reductions in lead exposure and adult mass incarceration. According to one study, lead (a once common ingredient of paint and gasoline) can disrupt brain development, thus influencing impulse and behavior regulation. In recent decades, the adult prison population has risen exponentially; causing some experts to theorize that there are fewer criminals to lure youths into crime.
Improvements in education is another topic of serious consideration. The decline in youth violent crime happens to coincide with more kids in preschool and the launch and spread of education programs. After-school programs can keep kids out of trouble. The article notes that the high school graduation rate hit 85 percent in 2017, following a two-decade trend. The combination of all three factors has likely had an impact on crime reduction.
“The nation needs to focus dollars and efforts on reforming school climates to keep students engaged in ways that will lead them toward college and a career and away from crime and prison,” said Bob Wise.
Orange County School Expulsion Attorney
The Law Offices of Katie Walsh specializes in helping families whose sons and daughters are facing the prospect of school expulsion. Attorney Walsh understands that a minor infraction can have a significant impact on a child’s future. She can advocate for your family.
Please contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about we help you and your loved one negotiate alternatives to expulsion.