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Keeping kids in school through prearrest diversion: School disciplinary outcomes of the Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program.
Law and Human Behavior  (IF3.795),  Pub Date : 2021-12-01, DOI: 10.1037/lhb0000453
Naomi E S Goldstein,Amanda NeMoyer,TuQuynh Le,Siying Guo,Lindsey M Cole,Angela Pollard,Rena Kreimer,Fengqing Zhang

OBJECTIVES Developed to keep youth in school and out of court, the Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program allows youth to avoid arrest for specified school-based summary and misdemeanor offenses. This study examined whether diverted youth were also less likely to experience exclusionary discipline, both in response to the referring incident and in the following calendar year. HYPOTHESES We predicted that diverted youth-compared to youth arrested in schools the year before program implementation-would have been less likely to receive a suspension for their school-based incident, receive a suspension in the year following the incident, and be referred for permanent school removal in the year following the incident. METHOD Using a quasi-experimental design, we examined data from 1,281 diverted youth and 531 comparable youth arrested in Philadelphia schools in the year before program implementation. These 1,812 students (67% male, 75% Black) ranged from 10 to 22 years of age. After using propensity score matching techniques, we conducted mixed-effects logistic regression analyses to compare the matched groups on 3 outcomes: incident-related suspension, postincident suspension, and postincident referral for permanent school removal. RESULTS No statistically significant group differences in likelihood of incident-related suspension emerged; however, age and gender moderated the relationship between diverted/arrested status and incident-related suspension. Diverted youth were less likely than matched arrested youth to experience both postincident suspension and postincident permanent school removal referral. CONCLUSIONS The Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program shows promise in reducing the likelihood that youth will experience future exclusionary discipline following a school-based incident. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).