interior of jail

The Classroom and Juveniles

There are times when a student’s behavior is beyond what the school can handle. When this happens, it is time to escalate the intervention of the student to another level of administrative support. One example of this is when students commit crimes that necessitate the involvement of law enforcement, THis is when a student goes from being disruptive and perhaps troublemakers to being a juvenile delinquent. In this post, we will look at some common terms associated with law enforcement and terms uniquely associated with the juvenile justice system.


A crime is an illegal activity that leads to a student losing their freedom. Illegal activity is defined by lawmakers who pass bills at the federal or state level. For example, littering is illegal, but few people have lost their freedom overdoing this. Crime also involves mental capability, which means someone intends to do something. For example, walking out of a bank with one of the bank’s pens is not illegal unless a lawyer can prove that a person intends to take the pen.

Intention is a major difference between law and classroom management. Often, students do not think before they act, but they are held accountable whatever their mental culpability was. In crime, culpability can be a major factor in determining what can of punishment or if a young person is even guilty.

Levels of Crime

All infractions of the law are not equal. Laws are broken down into two main categories. These categories are misdemeanors and felonies.

Misdemeanors are some of the least offensive crimes and usually can result in less than one year of jail time. Examples of common misdemeanors are theft, driving while intoxicated, and even prostitution in some places. Generally, suppose someone is a first-time offender, as most youths are. In that case, they will not face jail time unless they become habitual offenders.

There might be a lesson here for teachers. Often it seems as if classroom infractions are all treated the same. For example, talking out of turn and refusing to do schoolwork are treated equally. This may be appropriate, but perhaps thought should be given to differentiating the degree of the infraction as is done in the justice system. What gets kids into serious trouble is habitual disregard of minor offenses in the classroom.

Types of Crime

Felonies are crimes considered much more serious in nature and can lead someone to spend more than a year behind bars. Examples of felonies include murder, robbery, and sexual assault.

Crimes can also be divided by type. Examples include violent crimes and property crimes. Violent crimes generally hurt people and include murder, sexual acts, and robbery. Property crimes are crimes committed against things that belong to others, such as theft (taking someone else’s stuff) and arson (burning someone else’s stuff). Hurting people is taken more seriously than hurting people’s stuff, and thus the punishment for violent crimes are harsher than for property crimes.


Young people make mistakes that can involve some of the crimes above. Sometimes these mistakes can have a lasting impact on their lives and on the people around them. Teachers may have to deal with students who make these kinds of mistakes and thus need to be prepared to understand their student’s situations.

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