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Aaron Kupchik - University of Delaware. Newark, DE, US

Aaron Kupchik

Professor, Sociology and Criminal Justice | University of Delaware


Prof. Kupchik focuses on juvenile justice and the punishment and policing of youth in schools, courts, and correctional facilities.



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Youth and Young Adult Populations: Aaron Kupchik, University of Delaware REIMAGINING SCHOOL SAFETY: A CONVERSATION ON POLICE IN SCHOOLS WITH AARON KUPCHIK




Aaron Kupchik is Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. He holds a doctorate in Sociology from NYU, and studies the policing and punishment of juveniles in schools, courts and correctional facilities.

Professor Kupchik has published six books, including The Real School Safety Problem: The long-term consequences of harsh school punishment, and Judging Juveniles: Prosecuting Adolescents in adult and juvenile courts. He is the recipient of a number of awards, including the American Society of Criminology's Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award and its Michael Hindelang Book Award, in addition to the American Society of Criminology Division on Corrections and Sentencing New Scholar Award. He is the former President of the American Society of Criminology Division on Corrections and Sentencing, and was an Executive Counselor for the American Society of Criminology. He serves on several editorial boards and is invited regularly to present research on juvenile justice to different audiences, including multiple presentations for committees of the National Academies of Sciences.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Crime and Inequality in Schools

Crime and Incarceration

Crime Rates

Juvenile Justice

Correctional Facilities

Youth Punishment

Media Appearances (4)

Policing our schools | UDaily

University of Delaware  online


"There is no consistent research showing that SROs are able to prevent student crime, or even school shootings,” Kupchik said. “Most high-quality studies show either no effect or that the presence of an SRO is associated with more student crime and misbehavior."

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Where Lynching Terrorized Black Americans, Corporal Punishment In Schools Lives On

Huffington Post  online


The idea for the study came out of discussions between Kupchik, who studies racial inequality in school punishment, and Geoff Ward, a professor of African and African-American Studies at Washington University St. Louis, who studies histories and legacies of racialized violence.

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Communities Push to Remove Police From Schools

KQED  online


Guests: Aaron Kupchik, sociology professor, University of Delaware, and author of "Homeroom Security: School Discipline in an Age of Fear."

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Defund police in schools? How the movement got momentum after George Floyd's death

USA Today  online


Since then, law enforcement in schools seemed like the one thing that district leaders would not change, said Aaron Kupchik, a professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware.

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Articles (5)

The Third Administrator? Perceptions of School Resource Officers in Predominantly White Elementary Schools

Educational Administration Quarterly

2023 While studies of collective leadership tend to focus on administrators and teachers, schools have other staff present that contribute to leadership in ways that affect the students. We focus on school resource officers (SROs), which have become increasingly common in suburban, predominately White schools and elementary schools because, absent law enforcement responsibilities, little is known about SROs in these settings. We examine perceptions of SRO impacts while exploring differences across roles and between White and non-White participants.

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Generations of Criminalization: Resistance to Desegregation and School Punishment

Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency

2023 Objectives: In this paper we refocus discussions of criminalization of students on structural racial inequality. We help explain racially disproportionate school punishments, while demonstrating the necessity for criminologists to examine how a historic legacy of racial oppression shapes contemporary punishments. More specifically, we explore the extent to which contemporary school punishment reflects a legacy of racial oppression and educational exclusion of Black students. Methods: Using nationwide data from multiple sources, we analyze how resistance to school desegregation, measured by the number of court cases contesting school segregation from 1952 − 2002, relates to suspensions from school and days missed due to suspension.

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Identifying the helpfulness of school climate: Skipping school, cheating on tests, and elements of school climate

Psychology in the Schools

2022 Prior research demonstrates the importance of school climate in shaping student behavior but tells us less about which aspects of school climate matter. In this paper we consider how distinct elements of school climate relate to skipping school and cheating on tests. Using survey and administrative data from several statewide Delaware sources, we perform a series of random‐intercept logistic regression models. We find that students in schools perceived to have a climate with high levels of structure and support are less likely to report cheating on tests.

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Protecting the flock or policing the sheep? Differences in school resource officers’ perceptions of threats by school racial composition

Social Problems

2022 Law enforcement officers (often called school resource officers or SROs) are an increasingly common feature in schools across the United States. Although SROs’ roles vary across school contexts, there has been little examination of why. One possible explanation is that SROs perceive threats differently in different school contexts and that the racial composition of schools may motivate these differences. To investigate this possibility, this study analyzes interviews with 73 SROs from two different school districts that encompass schools with a variety of racial compositions.

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Fear of a black (and poor) school: Race, class, and school safety policy preferences

Race and Justice

2022 School security and punishment practices have changed throughout the United States since the 1990s. Yet we know little about public support for these practices nor how this support varies when considering different students. The current study uses an experimental approach to assess public preferences for school punishment and security practices and how public opinion relates to student body race and class, as well as attitudes about crime. Results indicate that participants prefer security measures for schools with more low-income students and mental health services for schools with more high-income students.

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Research Grants (4)

Understanding the Adoption, Function, and Consequences of School Resource Officer Use in Understudied Settings

National Institute of Justice $623,047


School Discipline and Security: Maintaining Safety and Legitimacy

National Science Foundation, Law and Social Sciences Division $144,871


Between Two Worlds: Prosecuting Adolescents in Juvenile and Criminal Courts

National Science Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, Law and Social Sciences Division $9,874


Between Two Worlds: Prosecuting Adolescents in Juvenile and Criminal Courts

National Institute of Justice Graduate Research Fellowship $14,942


Accomplishments (5)

Outstanding Academic Title Selection, ACRL Choice (professional)


Distinguished New Scholar Award, American Society of Criminology, Division of Corrections and Sentencing (professional)


Outstanding Service Award, American Society of Criminology, Division of Corrections and Sentencing (professional)


Michael J. Hindelang Book Award, American Society of Criminology (professional)


Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award, American Society of Criminology (professional)


Education (3)

New York University: PhD, Sociology 2003

New York University: MA, Sociology 2000

Boston University: BA, Psychology 1994

Affiliations (3)

  • American Sociological Association : Member
  • American Society of Criminology : Member
  • Law and Society Association : Member