Friday, January 17, 2020
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Delinquent behaviors reduced by diversity, inclusion

In a Journal of School Health study, race, sex, perceived peer inclusion, and teacher discrimination were predictors of students’ delinquent behaviors.

In a study from the University of California, San Francisco, researchers statistically isolated different variables, including race and sex, to determine whether the different variables were correlated with a higher occurrence of delinquent behaviors among students.

  • Male—higher delinquent behavior scores than females
  • African-American—lower delinquent behavior scores than whites
  • Lower delinquent behavior scores among students who perceived their school environment to be inclusive and non-discriminatory

The above three correlations were hypothesized by the researchers, but one result surprised them: As schools’ average perceived peer inclusion increased, so did students’ delinquent behavior scores.

Over all, the findings indicate that students’ perceptions of their school climate may be an important influence on students’ delinquent behaviors.

Editor’s note: This study reports a correlation and no causative effect of sex, race, or school environment can be assumed, even though a correlation has been teased out of the statistics.

The study also found that as the average percentage of African-American teachers in schools increased, students’ delinquent behavior scores decreased.

“It is not surprising that increasing school diversity is important to reduce both African-American and white students’ delinquent behaviors,” said corresponding author Dr Brittany Darlene Chambers, of UCSF. “Findings from this study stress the need for programs to incentivize teachers of color to enter and remain in our school systems.”

Editor’s note: Voxitatis reported that one goal of Maryland’s Kirwan Commission was to increase the diversity of the teacher workforce. That commission puts lots of emphasis on the need to recruit men and women of color into the teaching ranks, while the authors of this study emphasize that keeping them in teaching is also important. Studies like this solidify our opinion that the report failed to focus on actual solutions to the problems faced by schools in Maryland.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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