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Pre-delinquency: its recognition in school Myers, Gerard George

Abstract

This study is primarily concerned with the early recognition of symptomatic behaviour in school, and subsequent treatment of the child who may become delinquent. It is based upon the premise that the only effective method of control of juvenile delinquency lies in prevention. The findings are based upon investigation of a sample group of delinquents from the Vancouver Juvenile Court, and a smaller group of delinquents from the same sample, studied in the city schools. The progressive development of delinquency is traced, from its origin in emotional factors, through the school years, to the ultimate conflict with the law. The study indicates the behaviour characteristics of many pre-delinquent children in school, and the extent to which these attributes are recognizable as symptomatic patterns. The attitudes of teachers toward troublesome behaviour in school are discussed with reference to the feasibility of a collaborative approach, between the social worker and the teacher, to the problem of prevention. In its theoretical aspects, the study draws from reports of current programs in delinquency control, with emphasis upon their preventive content. The analysis of the various control measures shows their limited recognition of the deeper-lying emotional basis of delinquent behaviour. An outline for a preventive program is presented. It is based upon the conditions indicated by the study, and the resources available to such a program in the city of Vancouver. The outline suggests how a preventive program may be launched on an experimental basis, through a reorganization of existing agencies and services.

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