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Poor School Attendance as a Key Factor Leading to Juvenile Delinquency

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In our textbook, Christopher A. Mallett defines delinquency as “the ongoing committing of criminal acts or offenses by a young person, normally younger than 18 years of age”. Delinquent behavior can come in all shapes and sizes and can range from minor violations like skipping school all the way up to more serious crimes like burglary and assault. There are many factors that lead juveniles down a path towards a life filled with committing delinquent acts. Some examples of these factors are lack of moral guidance, substance abuse, peer pressure, violence at home, poverty and much more. This essay will touch upon what is most likely the main factor leading to juvenile delinquency and that is poor school attendance and school connectedness.

There are obvious links made between academic struggle, trouble at school, bullying, truancy and school exclusion policies that lead to juvenile delinquency. This is why schools play such an important role in helping to grow and shape the future for today’s youth. Education is the foundation for success. Without education, the chances of these juveniles going down the wrong path and committing delinquent acts skyrockets. “Schools are not only a place to learn and grow, but it is also a structured routine that provides children with a goal to accomplish each day” (Baysinger. (2019, August 9). Not only do schools give the youth a time and place to be during the day but it also gives them the opportunity to be able to visualize and achieve goals on a daily basis. This isn’t the case with all schools though. Unfortunately, not every school system gives children the best opportunity for success. Schools that are overcrowded and underfunded may lack discipline and order and therefore give the children the opportunity to take part and carry out in more delinquent behavior. “Schools that are poorly organized, that function below minimum safety standards, and do not promote safe learning environments are additional risk factors leading to delinquency” (Mallet, C. A. (n.d.)).

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School discipline and suspension/expulsion are also factors that lead to delinquent behavior. Excluding a youth from attending school not only takes the youth away from receiving an education but also puts that youth at a disadvantage because we are forcing him/her to hang out in the streets of their neighborhoods where crimes are present. By doing this we aren’t giving the youth a fair chance to want to go to school. Why would a child want to go to school where they are getting yelled at and getting in trouble on a daily basis when they could be at home hanging out with other youths from the neighborhood with little to no responsibilities. Studies have shown that individuals that are less connected to their schools are more likely to commit delinquent acts. Therefore keeping kids out of schools gives the kids a greater chance of getting involved with a gang.

Adolescence is a time period that is marked by change, immaturity, impulsiveness, and ongoing development for preteens and teens alike. This is a crucial stage in life for directing and putting youth on the right path to succeed in life. “Early aggressive behavior may lead to difficulties in the classroom. These difficulties could then result in a child receiving poor grades and evaluations from teachers. This then could lead them towards a life of delinquency” (Baker, M. L. (2001, September).

Truancy has been linked to higher delinquency rates in youths. Sometimes an abundancce of delinquent behavior as a youth can carry over into adulthood. “As a risk factor for delinquent behavior in youth, truancy has been found to be related to substance abuse, gang activity, and involvement in criminal activities such as burglary, auto theft, and vandalism” (Baker, M. L. (2001, September). Truancy can lead to punitive actions from the school or law. Not only can the truant student get in trouble but his/her legal guardian may also get in trouble. This could jeopardize the relationship between student and school officials. If a child continues to get in trouble or they get arrested at school, it could leave a bad taste in their mouth whenever they go back to that specific area where the incident occurred. This could trigger a PTSD response only making situations worse for the child.

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Poor School Attendance as a Key Factor Leading to Juvenile Delinquency. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from
“Poor School Attendance as a Key Factor Leading to Juvenile Delinquency.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022,
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