Thesis

The relationship between socio-economic status and criminal activity

This study explores socio-economic levels of schools and student outcomes within a single school district. This study attempts to answer the following questions: Are there differences in the socioeconomic levels and criminal activity of the student populations that each school serves? Are students in the more socio-economically disadvantaged schools: 1) less likely to be present in the senior class? 2) more likely to engage in criminal activity? 3) more likely to serve time in the Department of Probation? This study utilizes a mixed method approach using qualitative questionnaire responses, and quantitative data compiled by the school district. Schools were ranked on a socio-economic scale based on the percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch. The relationship between socio-economic status and amount of criminal acts committed both at school and in the community is complex. Some socioeconomically depressed schools have low numbers of suspensions and send students successfully on to middle and high school. Other low socio-economic schools have high suspension rates and some students that are involved in illegal activities. Urban schools had more suspensions at the middle and high school levels. Mid-and high level socio-economic schools were not untouched by criminal activity, half of participants in the Department of Probation sample reported having attended a Mid-or High socioeconomic level elementary school. KEYWORDS: attendance trends, criminal acts, socioeconomics

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