Number of Young People Arrested in Florida’s Public Schools Drops by Nearly Half over Last Eight Years

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The number of young people arrested in Florida’s public schools decreased by 48 percent from 2004 to 2012, according to a new Florida Department of Juvenile Justice report.

Over the eight-year period, total public school arrests in the state fell from 24,000 to about 12,500 during the 2011-2012 school year. According to the report, 67 percent of all school-related arrests during the timeframe stemmed from misdemeanor offenses, with non-felony assault and battery, disorderly conduct and drug charges accounting for almost 56 percent of public school arrests over the eight-year period.

Additionally, 51 percent of school-related arrests last year were attributed to first-time delinquents, a 7 percent drop from 2010-2011 statistics. In all, 65 percent of school-related arrests in the 2011-2012 school year in Florida were dismissed, not filed or eventually dismissed.

In an press release, DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters encouraged the use of arrest alternatives for youth that commit in-school misdemeanors, including civil citations and intervention services.

“Misdemeanors accounted for 67 percent of all school-related arrests and 51 percent of schoolchildren were arrested last year for their first offense,” he said. “Youth who act up at school should not be deferred to DJJ for ‘punishment,’ forcing them to enter the juvenile justice system needlessly.”

Photo courtesy of zhangsan via Fotolia.

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