The number of adolescent girls in conflict with the law is increasing alarmingly, and the problems associated with the prevention of anti-social behaviour and the treatment and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders is constantly brought before the public by the various sections of the media. The school, as one of the institutions involved with socialization of the young, is intimately involved, particularly at secondary level. Currently it would seem, from the number of girls who leave school as soon as they are legally able, that there needs to be a rethinking of policies within schools regarding the types of programmes offered, particularly to girls who are showing negative attitudes towards formal education. This study is an attempt to structure possible approaches to the problem.
The study investigates each section of the term "adolescent female delinquent" and the role of the school in its interaction with this subgroup of the school population. A review of procedures currently practised in relation to juvenile delinquents and their rehabilitation is presented, and a relationship to the responsibility of schools postulated. Schools state their policies regarding students in curriculum statements, hence a chapter is devoted to a brief discussion of curriculum.
A sample of adolescent girls in care and control of the Department of Children's Services in Queensland provides some evidence of the needs, interests and abilities of the group in question. Curriculum as it would seem to relate to girls similar to those in the sample is investigated, with reference both to the literature and to the sample, as support for processes and components suggested. Factors which operate to limit the possibilities of successful implementation of such programmes are discussed, both in relation to mainstream schools and to special schools operating within closed institutions.
The study is presented primarily with a view to offering suggestions and support to those who must cope with such girls at the grass-roots level of classroom interaction* But it is also hoped that it will highlight the urgent need for research into the problem and stimulate action by those who are able to instigate change at administrative levels.