U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Assessing the Role of Immigration in the Linkage between School Safety, Education, and Juvenile Justice Contact

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2021
41 pages

This project examined the extent to which first-generation and second-generation immigrant youth experienced school safety, school discipline, and juvenile justice differently than non-immigrant students, as well as how schools with higher levels of immigrant students and/or are located near the U.S.=Mexico border differ in school safety and school discipline.


The project used a unique secondary dataset that combined Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) data. The Texas Education Research Center (ERC) merged the two databases, giving the research team de-identified data for analysis. A total of 89 percent of the juvenile justice records were matched to the TEA data, providing confidence that the students who did not appear in the juvenile justice data were not involved in the juvenile justice system. Because each of the datasets was collected on at least an annual basis, they enabled the integration of time into analyses and the modeling of any temporal effects that may be present in students’ school and juvenile justice experiences. In Texas, all public schools are required to report each case of school discipline that results in at least one of the following punishments: in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, placement in a disciplinary alternative education program, placement in a juvenile justice alternative education program or expulsion. The study found lower rates of negative outcome, suggesting that the higher levels of school discipline and juvenile justice referrals were related to factors that co-vary with border, such as poverty, rather than the schools’ location.  Thus, these schools were less dangerous than non-border campuses with similar characteristics. The study found that immigrant children were less likely to be referred to juvenile justice and less likely to be sent to a prosecutor when they were referred. Extensive tables and 35 references




Date Published: December 1, 2021