This essay focused on school characteristics that influence crime, victimization, violence, and substance use in and out of schools.
School violence, drug use, vandalism, gang activity, bullying, and theft are costly and interfere with academic achievement. Fortunately, crime victimization in schools for students and teachers followed the downward trend in national crime rates during the 1990s and has remained at a relatively low level since 2000. Youths are as likely to be victimized in school as out when it comes to theft and minor assaults, but the most serious assaults tend to occur outside of school. Despite the high rates of crime in school, school crime plays a relatively minor role in juvenile criminal careers. Nonetheless, school crime deserves public concern. The composition and operation of schools influence crime. A variety of instructional programs can reduce crime, such as those that teach self-control or social competency skills using cognitive-behavioral or behavioral instructional methods. School discipline management policies and practices are also important. Schools in which rules are clearly stated, are fair, and are consistently enforced, and in which students participate in establishing mechanisms for reducing misbehavior and experience less disorder. (Published Abstract)
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