School Factors

The school is both a place of antisocial behaviour and a context of further risks for general delinquency. In contrast to popular opinions, neither class size, school size, nor architecture exert any strong significance on school bullying (Olweus, 1994). More important are features of the school and classroom climate. For example, committed, empathic and consistent teachers and an emphasis on school values have a positive effect (Gottfredson, 2001; Mortimore, 1995; Rutteretal., 1979). The concentration of aggressive youngsters provides role models and reinforcement for antisocial behaviour (Kellam et al., 1998). With regard to the students, deficits in school achievement and school bonding (e.g. truancy, having to repeat the school year, dropping out of school, bad relationships with teachers, low school interests in parents and student) are important predictors of delinquent development (Farrington, 2002; Farrington and Loeber, 2001; Hawkins et al., 1998). Only a small number of cases involve a real inability to cope with academic demands, negative attitudes and motivations towards the school seem to be more crucial (Jessor, Donovan and Costa, 1991). Obviously, such school factors are not independent origins of delinquency but risks that are already proximal and interacting with a delinquent development.

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