Student Delinquency is when a student disobeys the school’s authorities and breaks the rules of the school. Student delinquency is also prevalent in Secondary Schools across Jamaica; however this research focuses on student delinquency in Portmore secondary Schools. Students disobey school rules causing a surrounding of chaos and controversies. Authorities of these institutions try to implement the necessary measures to reduce delinquency actions in schools. Of these measures, not all are effective. According to the printed mass media in Jamaica, every year at least one student dies from having a dispute with another student.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
What are the measures put in place by authorities in Secondary Institutions to reduce student delinquency and are these measures effective?
What are the measures implemented in high schools in the Portmore, St.Catherine to address undisciplined students?
In what ways are the targeted students affected by the measures put in place?
How effective are these measures in reducing delinquency in the respective schools?
REASON FOR SELECTING AREA OF RESEARCH
As a researcher, it would be of great significance to research and analyze the activities of delinquents and investigate on the possible procedures authorities put in place to aid in the reduction of delinquent activities in secondary educational institutions. Student delinquency is becoming widespread not just across the island, but across the globe. It has been a significant factor contributing to juvenile delinquency in Jamaica. The authorities put in place rules and regulations in which the students should follow. Student delinquency is deemed unacceptable and student delinquents contribute to the social decay of our society.
METHOD OF INVESTIGATION
The researcher decided to use printed questionnaires in order to collect data for the survey. The questionnaire is an effective tool for collecting data and it has a number of advantages. The questionnaire requires little time for preparation.
It can be used to collect large amounts of data in a short space of time. Data collected is easy to process.
It guarantees confidentiality seen that the respondents are not required to attach their names.
The questionnaire was a suitable choice to collect data and it was beneficial in my research.
DATA COLLECTION INSTRUMENT
COPY OF QUESTIONNAIRE
This is a research being carried out on the topic of student delinquency. You are not required to put your name on the questionnaire sheet. Please answer all twenty questions and follow instructions given.
1. How old are you?
2. What is your gender?
3. What is the classification of your high school?
4. What grade are you in?
5. What is the most popular problematic issue at your school, to which rules are applied? Punctuality
Attendance to class
Attendance to school
6. Indicate which of the following activities you engage or have engaged in. (Tick all that apply)
Being disrespectful to teachers or members of staff
Wearing inappropriate accessories
7. Having committed an offence above, what are the penalties?
8. How often were you sent home due to dressing inappropriately? 1-3
9. How often were you punished in the last term for skipping classes?
10 Times and over
10. What are the factor/s that influence/s your delinquent actions? Peer Pressure
11. How do your parents react to your delinquency at school? They encourage me to do better
They do not care
They make visits to my school
They penalize me at home
12. Are there any positive effects of being a delinquent?
13. What are your challenges of being a delinquent student? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
14. Do you want to reduce your delinquent actions?
15. Rate the measures of the most effective method to reduce student delinquency in your school? Please Tick your choice (1 is least effective and 5 is most effective) METHODS
Guidance & Counselling
PROCEDURES FOR DATA COLLECTION
Portmore, St.Catherine consists of approximately nine secondary educational institutions. Two secondary schools were used in this survey. A total of 13 questionnaires were sent to the Greater Portmore High School and 7 questionnaires were sent to The Bridgeport High School. A total of 20 questionnaires were printed and distributed. The ratio of male to female respectively that was included in the sample was 11:9. The students who participated in the survey ranged in age from thirteen years to seventeen years. The method of quota sampling was implemented whereby students were selected from sub-groups. The guidance counsellors of both schools assisted in the choice of participants for the study. The breakings of school rules, disobeying the authorities and constantly dealing with the consequences on different occasions are some of the characteristics in which the participants possess. These students were provided with questionnaires and instructions on how the questions should be answered. They were also given a letter explaining the survey and why their assistance was needed. The researcher assured the participants that the information collected would be confidential. Therefore after that process was completed the students were given the questionnaires and it was collected at the end of the day.
PRESENTATION OF DATA
FIGURE 4 – Table showing the results from question six and seven of the questionnaire sheet. This shows the activities that the students have engaged in and the penalties assigned to them.
FIGURE 5- Pie Chart showing the challenges of a delinquent student.
Guidance and Counselling
FIGURE 6 – column 1 is the least effective and column 5 is the most effective. Each cell shows the amount of students that rated the methods according to how effective they think the methods are. Seventeen persons rated Guidance and Counselling as the most effective, in percentage this is 85%. While, fifteen persons rated probation as the least effective method, in percentage this is 75%.
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA
According to figure 2 some rules that are implemented in all the secondary schools in Portmore are dress, punctuality, attendances to class and school, rules regarding fighting, skipping classes etc. According to 40% of the participants, dress is the most significant issue at their school to which rules are applied. If a student should disobey a rule a consequence should be issued to that individual. Some measures put in place as consequences are warning, detentions, suspensions and manual labour. These measures are implemented and are suppose to help authorities in reducing the level of delinquency in secondary schools. In making reference to, Question 7 in the questionnaire and figure 5 in the presentation of data. It shows that the various indisciplinary actions are assigned specific punishments. For dressing inappropriately 13 students listed detention, while for skipping classes zero students listed suspension. According to a guidance counsellor at a secondary educational institution in Portmore, who chooses to stay anonymous explains that skipping classes is a major offence because attending classes is the main purpose of students being in school. Students skip classes out a desire to defy against authorities or because they are not academically inclined and refuses to properly prepare for lessons. The authorities of the schools need to take more serious actions as it relates to the punishments that would be issued to students who perform this act. However, these measures were not necessarily effective on students as they should have been. The delinquent students were affected in several ways as it regards to punishment from parents, and unfair behaviour from teachers. According to figure 4 targeted students end up in situations where they get a different treatment from teachers and they tend to get punished by their parents. According to figure 4 in the presentation of data, it has been revealed that 30% of the students said teachers dislike them and parents punish them. Therefore, concluding that students are getting punished from both ends, in the home and at school. According to R. Rampersad, “Modules in Social Studies,” communication is a vital part of an individual’s development. Therefore, if the communication process is poor and the child is just getting punished from everyone, he/she will not do better. According to the answers given for questions 12, 14 and 15, some of them were negative answers which showed that the measures had no impact whatsoever on their lives. Figure 6 shows that 85% of the participants chose guidance & counselling as most effective and 75% listed probation as least effective. This can be concluded that guidance& counselling is effective seen as delinquency actions are sometimes caused by pressure from peers or by family issues and an individual just needs to talk over his/her situation with someone. According to R. Rampersad, “Modules in Social Studies,” a delinquent is made not born and there are several causes of delinquency, for example; dysfunctional families where children are unwanted, child suffering from low self-esteem and performance at school etc. However, there are several solutions for this issue. Guidance and Counselling is one of the solutions and according to the textbook mentioned above, it can help a delinquent by applying moral education and emotional support to change destructive behaviour. In addition, where it regards the measures put in place, this affects students to miss out on lessons taught by teachers when they get suspended .As I spoke to one of the participants who told me that the teachers do not care if they catch on because if they had adhered to the rules they wouldn’t have gotten a suspension and they would have been at school to learn the new topics. According to the studies of American Academy of Pediatrics, suspension and expulsion from school are used to punish students, alert parents, and protect other students and school staff. Suspension and expulsion may exacerbate academic deterioration, and when students are provided with no immediate educational alternative, student alienation and intense student delinquency will be a trend across the schools with this issue. However, of the participants, forty-five percent chose peer pressure as their factor which influences their behaviour. These children are in the adolescence development stage where they have to deal with certain challenges like Identity vs. Role Confusion. Erikson’s theory explains the development of adolescence, detailing many important concepts. As it relates to this research, the students have a sense of individual uniqueness as well as an unconscious striving continuity of experience. They are basically trying to find themselves and are possibly confused about the roles they play in an institution or a social group, wanting to fit in.
STATEMENT OF FINDINGS
This research has revealed various cases as it regards to student delinquency. These include:
1. The measures implemented in high schools in the area of Portmore, St.Catherine are suspension, detention, warning cards and probation to address the necessary in disciplinary actions.
2. Probation was listed as the least effective while Guidance and Counselling was listed as the most effective.
3. The students wrote that teachers disliked them or treated them differently. Students who received suspension as a consequence missed out on lessons taught.
Student delinquency is at a level in secondary schools that should not be acceptable in an educational institution. In secondary schools, student delinquency is widespread and is even becoming a more popular trend in today’s society. This is becoming a heavy burden as it contributes to social decay. I. The secondary institutions can only do so much and no more to help in reducing the level of delinquency in schools. Everything starts from the home, parents should ensure that their child/children are well –behaved or at least a little discipline where it regards to respect and manners. A couple of students wrote that their parents did not care, and I think this is a major reason why some of these children react in a certain manner at school. Therefore, the secondary schools can put in place workshops and programmes for parents to indulge. They can have speakers come to these programmes and speak on the issue and conclude ways to reduce the delinquency actions being displayed by their children. They can also organize more student/parent/teacher conference, where they face each other to talk about the problems and their issues.
II. Youth Clubs and Citizen Associations for the various communities in Portmore can work alongside the secondary schools in the aid of reducing delinquency levels. They could organize functions or become mentors to these students in order to regulate and instill in them values, morale and goals.
Rampersad, R. Umraw R.R. (2005). Modules in Social Studies with SBA Guide and CXC Questions (4th ed.) La Romain, Trinidad. Caribbean Educational publishers.
American Academy Pediatrics. (2013). Out-of-school Suspension and Expulsion. Pediatrics. (n.d.). http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/112/5/1206.full