An Open Road to Delinquency: An Analysis of the Special Education System in American Public Schools Employing Conflict Theory

Brittany M. Williams


The special education system in the United States is supposedly designed to give further assistance to students who may have mental, behavioral and physical disorders; however, many programs seem to do everything except accomplish this goal. Youth and adolescents who are products of the special education system reach the same end of crime and delinquency. Conflict Theory presents an explanation as to why these issues are prevalent in the educational system as well as other sectors of society. This paper highlights the connection between jail and delinquency in terms of those individuals taught in the special education system. In addition, the paper addresses the seemingly ineffective teaching methods proposed in Pedagogy Theory. Therefore, this paper hypothesizes that the relationship between delinquency rates and the special education system is great because of the ineffective teaching approach being used. This paper uses the qualitative approach to analyze the stated theory and its relation to delinquency in America’s special education system. The data were collected from books, scholarly journals, and online news and census sources by employing document analyses techniques. These sources were augmented by expert interviews. The substantive findings show that the education students receive from the special education system is ineffective and inadequate, thereby forcing the students into a life of crime, delinquency and trouble when in their adulthood.


Juvenile Delinquency; Pedagogy; Conflict Theory; Special Education

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