School climate and diversity may affect students' delinquent behaviors
In a Journal of School Health study, race, sex, perceived peer inclusion, and teacher discrimination were predictors of students' delinquent behaviors.
As expected, the study of 8947 African American and White students found that being a male was associated with higher delinquent behavior scores. Conversely, being an African American was associated with lower delinquent behavior scores. Similarly, students who perceived their school climate to be non-discriminatory and inclusive reported lower delinquent behavior scores. These findings indicate students' perceptions of their school climate may be an important influence on students' delinquent behaviors.
Surprisingly, as schools' average perceived peer inclusion increased, so did students' delinquent behavior scores. 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 the University of California, San Francisco. "Findings from this study stress the need for programs to incentivize teachers of color to enter and remain in our school systems."