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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76544 Find in a Library
Title: Logic v Reality - Prospects of Basing School Crime Legislation Upon Research
Journal: Contemporary Education  Volume:52  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1980)  Pages:36-41
Author(s): T V Halatyn
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An account of legislative actions in California regarding a school crime prevention program examines the impact of research on legislation.
Abstract: When asked to testify at hearings conducted by California's Joint Committee for Revision of the Penal Code on school crime, the author considered how research could assist legislation. Deterrence programs targeted at specific conditions or subgroups initially seemed a good approach but were subject to controversies involving causation theories, complex interrelationships among variables, and social complications. Because of these problems and the variance in findings among current research projects on school crime, the collection of data from individual schools which could help develop prevention and control strategies was envisioned as the most practical subject for legislation. Thus, testimony given in December 1977 outlined an information system that would gather data on the extent of school crime, costs, prevention methods, and characteristics of victims and offenders. A technical assistance unit within the State Department of Education was proposed to analyze the raw data collected by school districts. The legislative process with its revisions and problems is described in detail. The school crime proposals were divided into two bills: S. 72 which established a system to collect information and S. 73 which provided State assistance in analyzing data and developing prevention programs. The bills were passed by the legislature in 1979, but the Governor vetoed S. 73 on the grounds that school violence should be handled at the local level. The veto suggests that the relationship between information collecting and analysis was misunderstood since the data collection system will be of little use without S. 73. Research logic may yet prevail if a modified version of S. 73 currently being drafted is passed. Although the irrationality of the political process is discouraging for researchers, they should still try to promote a more logical basis for the development of legislation directed at social issues. The article contains 14 notes.
Index Term(s): California; Crime in schools; Data collections; Legislation; Political influences; Research uses in policymaking
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