Saturday, September 23, 2017

 Alison Evans Cuellar and Sara Markowitz

Abstracted from:  Alison Evans Cuellar and Sara Markowitz,  School Suspension and The School-to-prison Pipeline , 43 International Review of Law & Economics 98 (August, 2015) 

 

Alison Evans CuellarSchools face tremendous challenges when designing and implementing disciplinary policies that reduce violence on campus, protect students, and maintain environments conducive to learning. The "zero tolerance" policies toward infractions of conduct codes, while broadly used, are controversial and the consequences are not well understood. In this paper, we fill a gap in the literature by evaluating whether school suspension policies increase offending behavior by problem youth. Our paper speaks to the so called "school-to-prison pipeline", which is a term used to broadly describe policies that push children out of classrooms toward the juvenile justice system. In this paper, we do not examine the policies directly, but rather one of the consequences of such policies, out-of-school suspension.

Specifically, we evaluate whether out-of-school suspension increases referrals to the juvenile justice system among youth with a history of offending behaviors. The evidence presented here points to the conclusion that it does. The results show that among this population, being suspended out-of-school on a school day is associated with a more than doubling of the probability of offense. Further, the study finds that the effect is larger for African American youth and is not significant for Hispanic and Asian youth. It is possible that the estimates are biased due to simultaneity if youth behavior, such as aggressive outbursts, that leads to suspension and carries over into behavior that causes arrest. In this case, the lagged and lead values of out-of-school would be positive, but this analysis finds that they are not significant. Other robustness checks also confirm our main conclusion.

Sara MarkowitzSchools are not the locus of most youth crime. Most youth crime - 85% of juvenile arrests - derives from offenses that are committed outside of school and those offenses are more serious on average than in-school crimes. Schools, however, need tools to address problems within their institutions. Some options affect problems exclusively within schools and others that can have broader impacts on the community. The U.S. Department of Education promoted several approaches to manage school discipline challenges, among them interventions to develop positive school climates and setting clear and high expectations for school behavior. They span a wide range of activities from bullying prevention, to school bus behavior, and staff supervision training (U.S. Department of Education, 2014). Our analysis does not inform whether juvenile referral rates wo

This analysis does find that school suspension policies designed to handle problem behavior in school may contribute to overall crime rates out of school, highlighting a significant potential disadvantage of using out-of-school suspension as part of a school disciplinary policy. However, this conclusion does not account for *106 the potential positive effects in improving the classroom environment. This remains a question for future research. There is a broader set of consequences that cannot be addressed in this study. For instance, suspension may undermine the individual's academic career. As youth fall behind they may be more likely to drop-out, which could ultimately lead to greater crime in the longer term. The study also does not address spillover effects on peers and the cost to peer achievement and potentially higher crime rates within school. These too are topics for further research. Nevertheless, the results of this paper provide evidence for the school-to-prison pipeline where the likely mechanism is that suspension lead to days spent in the community with reduced supervision and increased opportunities to commit crimes. uld be lower if in-school misbehavior was dealt with differently. We can also only speculate on whether more aggressive suspension policies deter in-school misbehavior.

Alison Evans Cuellar and Sara Markowitz   Abstracted from:  Alison Evans Cuellar and Sara Markowitz,  School Suspension and The School-to-prison Pipeline , 43 International Review of Law & Economics 98 (August, 2015)     Schools face tremendous challenges when designing and implementing disciplinary policies that reduce violence on campus, protect students, and maintain environments conducive to learning. The "zero tolerance" policies toward infractions of conduct codes, while broadly used, are controversial and the consequences are not well understood. In this paper, we fill a gap in the literature by evaluating whether school suspension policies increase offending behavior by problem youth. Our paper speaks to the so called "school-to-prison pipeline", which is a term used to broadly describe policies that push children out of classrooms toward the juvenile justice system. In this paper, we do not examine the policies directly, but rather one of the consequences of such policies, out-of-school suspension.   Specifically, we evaluate whether out-of-school suspension increases referrals to the juvenile justice system among youth with a history of offending behaviors. The evidence presented here points to the conclusion that it does. The results show that among this population, being suspended out-of-school on a school day is associated with a more than doubling of the probability of offense. Further, the study finds that the effect is larger for African American youth and is not significant for Hispanic and Asian youth. It is possible that the estimates are biased due to simultaneity if youth behavior, such as aggressive outbursts, that leads to suspension and carries over into behavior that causes arrest. In this case, the lagged and lead values of out-of-school would be positive, but this analysis finds that they are not significant. Other robustness checks also confirm our main conclusion.   Schools are not the locus of most youth crime. Most youth crime - 85% of juvenile arrests - derives from offenses that are committed outside of school and those offenses are more serious on average than in-school crimes. Schools, however, need tools to address problems within their institutions. Some options affect problems exclusively within schools and others that can have broader impacts on the community. The U.S. Department of Education promoted several approaches to manage school discipline challenges, among them interventions to develop positive school climates and setting clear and high expectations for school behavior. They span a wide range of activities from bullying prevention, to school bus behavior, and staff supervision training (U.S. Department of Education, 2014). Our analysis does not inform whether juvenile referral rates would be lower if in-school misbehavior was dealt with differently. We can also only speculate on whether more aggressive suspension policies deter in-school misbehavior.   This analysis does find that school suspension policies designed to handle problem behavior in school may contribute to overall crime rates out of school, highlighting a significant potential disadvantage of using out-of-school suspension as part of a school disciplinary policy. However, this conclusion does not account for *106 the potential positive effects in improving the classroom environment. This remains a question for future research. There is a broader set of consequences that cannot be addressed in this study. For instance, suspension may undermine the individual's academic career. As youth fall behind they may be more likely to drop-out, which could ultimately lead to greater crime in the longer term. The study also does not address spillover effects on peers and the cost to peer achievement and potentially higher crime rates within school. These too are topics for further research. Nevertheless, the results of this paper provide evidence for the school-to-prison pipeline where the likely mechanism is that suspension lead to days spent in the community with reduced supervision and increased opportunities to commit crimes. 

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