The University of Iowa

“Our Teachers...Don’t Give Us No Help, No Nothin’”: Juvenile Offenders’ Perceptions of Academic Support


This qualitative study investigated the educational experiences that shaped juvenile offenders’ perceptions of the academic support they received in juvenile justice (JJ) settings and their public schools. We conducted interviews with students and JJ school personnel, two focus groups, classroom observations, and student surveys. Juvenile offenders characterized their teachers as supportive or unsupportive based on whether they made proactive efforts to help students learn. Disconnection with school occurred when students perceived teachers did not care and when there were difficulties in earning or transferring credits. Findings suggest that juvenile offenders demonstrate academic resiliency and a continued desire to pursue education.


Reed, D.K., & Wexler, J. (2014). “Our teachers…don’t give us no help, no nothin’”: Juvenile offenders’ perceptions of academic support. Residential Treatment for Children and Youth, 31, 188-218. doi: 10.1080/0886571X.2014.943568

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