Researchers have been studying schools' role in shaping youth delinquency since at least the 1950s, but little attention has been paid to how a student's immigrant status might impact the “school-delinquency link,” according to a study published in the journal Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice. The study is among recent research that explores why foreign-born youth are statistically less likely to commit crimes than native-born youth—a trend that has already been established.
“Are the effects of school context on delinquency the same for immigrant and native-born youth or do the former's unique migratory experiences, problems of adjustment, and status as 'outsiders' condition this relationship in meaningful ways?” ask Stephanie M. DiPietro, Lee Ann Slocum and Finn-Aage Esbensen in “School Climate and Violence: Does Immigrant Status Matter?” “Recent empirical work suggests that immigrant youth are differentially susceptible to both criminogenic risk and protective factors.”
The study included 2,976 students attending 30 different schools, who were part of two larger nationwide studies: an evaluation of the Gang Resistance Education and Training program conducted in 2012, and an evaluation of the Teens, Crime, and the Community/Community Works program conducted in 2009.
The authors conclude that schools must adapt to the changing needs of their student populations, recommending more programs that foster social integration of immigrant youth, promote communication among students and parents from different backgrounds, and combat intolerance.