Judicially-led Responses to the School Pathways to the Juvenile Justice System Project: An Overview of the Lessons Learned

November 21, 2016

The zero tolerance policies that were adopted by many local and state education agencies in the 1990s  had the unintended effect of unnecessarily introducing low-risk youth to the juvenile justice system for disruptive behaviors that are very typical of adolescence. Despite overall decreases in juvenile delinquency referrals nationally, including arrests of juveniles for violent offenses, the proportion of referrals for non-violent acts and relatively minor misdeeds that derive from school-related incidents has remained high in many jurisdictions. The School Pathways to Juvenile Justice System Project represented an important first phase in national response to the high proportion of delinquency referrals from schools to juvenile courts experienced in many regions of the country. This technical assistance bulletin focuses on early lessons learned from the initial on-site technical assistance (and follow-up TA) provided to the original 16 School Pathways demonstration sites.