A minor student’s arrest may be wiped clean at 18, but it may already have permanently harmed his or her chances of graduating from high school and going on to college, according to a new study from the University of Texas at Austin.
Researchers tracked cohorts of Chicago 12-year-olds and 15-year-olds from 1990 to 2005, cross-referencing enrollment and dropout data with student arrests between 1995 and 2001. Their study, to be published in the January 2013 issue of Sociology of Education, finds that school staff often find out about students’ arrests—a quarter of them in Chicago happened on campus. District rules also allow schools to expel students for arrests and other serious behavior problems off campus.
While 64 percent of Chicago students who were never arrested eventually received a high school diploma, the graduation rate for students who had been arrested was 26 percent.
A version of this article appeared in the December 05, 2012 edition of Education Week as Impact of Arrests