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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 50727 Find in a Library
Title: SCHOOLS AND DELINQUENCY - A CHALLENGE TO SCHOOLS
Journal: PROBATION OFFICER  Volume:14  Issue:3  Dated:(MARCH 1978)  Pages:3-8
Author(s): C MCKINNA
Corporate Author: Probation Officers' Assoc of Victoria
Australia
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Probation Officers' Assoc of Victoria
Melbourne, 3001, Australia
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: SCHOOLS' HANDLING OF STUDENTS WHO DO NOT PERFORM WELL ACADEMICALLY AND EXCLUSION OF STUDENTS FROM SCHOOLS' DECISIONMAKING PROCESSES ARE CITED AS FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO DELINQUENCY IN AUSTRALIA.
Abstract: SCHOOLS TEND TO USE A PERSON-BLAME (CLINICAL) MODEL TO EXPLAIN DELINQUENCY. WHEN A STUDENT COMMITS A DEVIANT ACT, TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS CONCLUDE THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE STUDENT; I.E., THAT HE OR SHE IS UNINTELLIGENT, TOO HIGHLY STRUNG OR NEUROTIC, OR FROM A 'BAD' FAMILY. THIS MODEL PERMITS SCHOOLS TO DENY ANY ACCOUNTABILITY FOR DEVIANT BEHAVIOR BY STUDENTS. A SYSTEM-BLAME MODEL TAKES INTO ACCOUNT THE MECHANISMS BY WHICH SCHOOLS CONTRIBUTE TO DELINQUENCY. ONE SUCH MECHANISM IS THE SCHOOL'S ATTACHMENT OF A FAILURE LABEL TO THE STUDENT WHO DOES NOT PERFORM WELL ACADEMICALLY. SUCH LABELING MAY GENERATE A SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY. A SURVEY OF 2,000 AUSTRALIAN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS SUPPORTS THIS CONTENTION IN THAT LOW STUDENT COMMITMENT TO SCHOOL (A PRODUCT OF THE STUDENT'S PERCEPTION OF FAILURE) WAS FOUND TO BE ASSOCIATED SIGNIFICANTLY WITH HIGHER LEVELS OF MISBEHAVIOR AT SCHOOL, TRUANCY, AND DELINQUENCY OUT OF SCHOOL. THE SCHOOL HISTORIES OF INSTITUTIONALIZED DELINQUENTS REVEAL SIMILAR ASSOCIATIONS. A SECOND MECHANISM BY WHICH SCHOOLS CONTRIBUTE TO DELINQUENCY IS THE REFUSAL TO GRANT STUDENTS A MEANINGFUL ROLE IN DECISIONMAKING PROCESSES. ALTHOUGH REFERENCES TO THE SYSTEM-BLAME MODEL AND SIMILAR CONCEPTS ABOUND IN THE LITERATURE, THERE IS LITTLE EVIDENCE THAT THE MODEL IS BEING APPLIED IN PRACTICE. THE FOLLOWING STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN: RAISING OF TEACHERS' CONSCIOUSNESS ABOUT SCHOOLS' CONTRIBUTIONS TO DELINQENCY; ATTEMPTS TO HELP ALL STUDENTS DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN POSITIVE FEELINGS OF SELF-ESTEEM AND SELF-WORTH; REDUCTION OF THE POWERLESSNESS OF THE STUDENT ROLE; AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF THE COMMUNITY TO QUESTION THE ROLE OF SCHOOLS IN SOCIETY. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Australia; High school education; Juvenile delinquency factors; Labeling theory; Self concept; Students
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50727

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