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Criticism leveled at schools for Maryland juvenile offenders

December 27, 2015The Baltimore Sun

When state officials decided in 2004 to turn the education programs in juvenile justice facilities over to the Maryland State Department of Education, the plan was praised as a bold move to help rehabilitate some of the state's most vulnerable youths.

Finally, they thought, these classrooms would be run by experts, the same people who had built one of the nation's best public school systems. The changeover, part of a sweeping overhaul of the long-troubled juvenile justice system, was also seen as a recognition by state officials that a good education was a way to prevent recidivism among juvenile offenders.

But The Baltimore Sun has found that in overseeing the roughly 5,000 students a year in 14 state-run juvenile facilities, the state's Department of Education has failed to meet the very standards it enforces in public school districts. And though laws say that juvenile offenders are entitled to the same education as their peers in public schools, interviews and records show serious shortcomings.

Topics: Classroom Management & Teacher Safety Gang Violence Violence Prevention in Schools