On probation in school

Pennsylvania puts juvenile probation officers in schools, where they can see their charges every day and keep track of their schoolwork.

It began as an experiment 14 years ago in eastern Pennsylvania at two middle schools in Allentown. At year’s end, the results were promising, with decreases in dropouts (29 percent), absenteeism (15 percent), lateness (9.5 percent), detentions and suspensions (4 percent) and a 4.1 percent increase in grades.

A study showed students with in-school probation officers were reported more for minor offenses but were less likely to get into serious trouble, compared to students on conventional probation.

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  1. Miller T Smith says:

    Prince George’s County has been doing this for a very long time. Huge numbers of my students in Northwestern High School where I teach are “in the system.” Such students have to carry a daily progress report with them to be filled out by the classroom teacher at the end of each class period. Many students go to lock-up that night or weekend if the classroom teacher writes a negative report.

    Putting the teacher in the spotlight on putting a kid in jail for the night or weekend has been an interesting experience. I have had kids go nuts over a less than glowing report from me. Many students choose to do full lock-up time rather than be on a daily report that-from their point of view-teachers can jerk them around.

  2. PJ/Maryland says:

    Miller, I take it that Northwestern is a normal high school that just happens to have a lot of kids on probation?

    I would think that writing up a (probably short) report on X number of students at the end of each class would cut into your instructional time. How big a problem do you find this?

  3. Jim Thomason says:

    And parents routinely send their kids off for 7+ hours a day to (in part) spend time with convicted criminals! Doesn’t sound like a very sound thing to do to me.