THE EFFECTS OF PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT IN MAINTAINING DISCIPLINE ON SCHOOL CRIME: COMMUNITY AND CRIME TYPE VARIATIONS
Devlin, Deanna Nicole
Gottfredson, Denise C
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Although crime on school grounds is lower than it has been in previous years, school crime still remains prevalent. Concern for school safety has resulted in school administrators, policy makers and parents seeking new ways to reduce school crime. Many of these efforts involve school staff in maintaining order. However, in addition to these efforts, schools have also begun forming partnerships with external parties to reduce crime on school grounds. These partners have consisted of law enforcement, community organizations, social service agencies, and sometimes parents. Typically, parental involvement has involved activities such as participating in PTA meetings, attending parent-teacher conferences and monitoring children’s homework. However, parents also have the potential to help reduce school crime when they collaborate with schools in maintaining safety on school grounds. Parents, when engaged in this way, can affect school crime by influencing important aspects of the school climate such as the culture of the school and discipline management. However, it is likely that these effects may vary by the type of community in which the school is located and where the families reside. To date, this type of parental involvement has not been rigorously evaluated. This study used a longitudinal sample from the School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) for the years 2004, 2006, and 2008, to examine the effects of parental involvement in maintaining discipline on school crime. These effects were assessed across differing types of communities and across different crime types. Further, this study tested whether this type of parental involvement serves as a mediator in the relationship between community disadvantage and school crime. Overall, the findings indicated that parental involvement in maintaining discipline was not associated with any of the school crime types. Additionally, this effect was not moderated by level of community disadvantage.