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Assessing the Role of School Discipline in Disproportionate Minority Contact with the Juvenile Justice System

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $497,640)

OJJDP's Field-Initiated Research and Evaluation (FIRE) program supports methodologically rigorous research and evaluation studies that inform policy and practice consistent with the Department of Justice's mission. OJJDP is focusing this year's FIRE program solicitation on funding studies of school-based practices, environment, and achievement that relate to reducing student victimization and the risk of delinquency. The goal of this year's FIRE program is to foster new and ongoing rigorous, scientific research and evaluation that has practical applications for the development of effective school programs, policies, and strategies that will foster positive youth development and reduce the risk of victimization and delinquency. This program is authorized by the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-55, 125 Stat. 552, 617, and 42 U.S.C. Sec. 5631.

This study explores the potential of the school discipline system as an intervention to reduce juvenile justice contact among all youth, but particularly youth of color. The study is based on a powerful database, merging all juvenile justice records with all education records for the state of Texas from 1999 through 2011. In one of the most robust investigations to date, the research will directly test whether school discipline involvement predicts juvenile justice contact. Statistical tests will determine whether the amount and type of school discipline violations and punishment differs based on race and ethnicity. Subsequent analyses will examine the impact of harsh exclusionary school discipline policies (e.g., zero tolerance) on student academic and juvenile justice outcomes, and determine whether harsh discipline has a disparate impact on minority youth. Among justice-involved students, racial/ethnic disproportionality will be assessed at each stage of case processing. Finally, the study will identify clusters of risk attributes that characterize sub-populations of youth for whom targeted interventions would yield the greatest impact on reducing disproportionate minority contact (DMC) with the juvenile justice system. CA/NCF

Date Created: June 5, 2013