Juvenile Justice Issues

Assembly Bill 420, which took effect on January 1, 2015, eliminates the authority of school districts to issue both in-school and out-of-school suspensions to students in kindergarten through third grade for disruption or willful defiance. In addition, no student can be expelled for disruption or willful defiance. This fact sheet offers school board members guidance to ensure that their district complies with the new law

Disproportionate Minority Contact
Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) refers to the disproportionate number of minority youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 2002 broadened the scope of the DMC initiative from “disproportionate minority confinement” to “disproportionate minority contact,” requiring an examination of potential disproportionate representation at all decision points within the juvenile justice continuum and implementation of data-based prevention and system improvement efforts to reduce identified disproportionality.

Foster Care to Prison Pipeline
Children in foster care consistently experience some of the lowest educational outcomes of all youth. This is evident in the fact that less than 50 percent of foster youth graduate from high school and a mere 3 percent graduate from college. The reasons for this are clear: research demonstrates that every time a child changes schools, they lose up to 6 months of their education and many foster youth may change schools 10-15 times throughout their education. Furthermore, many foster children suffer from the emotional ramifications of the incidents that led to their placement in foster care, and this can lead to acting out and avoidance of school.

Mass Incarceration
The United States incarcerates almost 25 percent of the prisoners in the entire world despite having only 5 percent of the world’s population. Hundreds of thousands of people are locked up not because of any dangerous behavior, but because they could not pay off a fine or were convicted of a nonviolent drug or property crime. These people are disproportionately poor people and people of color.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
The Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports is established by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to define, develop, implement, and evaluate a multi-tiered approach to Technical Assistance that improves the capacity of states, districts and schools to establish, scale-up and sustain the PBIS framework. Emphasis is given to the impact of implementing PBIS on the social, emotional and academic outcomes for students with disabilities.

Restorative Justice
Restorative justice is an umbrella term that addresses limitations of our legal processes to restore relationships and create justice through balance. It provides a framework to guide the victims and offenders towards justice and accountability while adapting to its determined situation.

School to prison pipeline
The “school-to-prison pipeline” refers to the policies and practices that push our nation’s schoolchildren, especially our most at-risk children, out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.  This pipeline reflects the prioritization of incarceration over education.

Truancy is the intentional act of illegally being absent from school. Time away from school effects a students ability to succeed. Truancy is a predictor of low student achievement and high school drop out rates.