Transnationally, nations are experiencing a growing fear of terrorism and extremism, which has led to discussion on how we can prevent children and young people from sympathizing with such attitudes and movements. A central part in these discussions is how education and schooling can be part of such a preventive work aiming at creating trustful relations between the school and the children and focusing on children’s democracy understandings, experienced discrimination and peer pressure. Furthermore, the school are to activate children’s reflections on existential questions and their empathy with others. (Rambøll 2016:9). The understanding of the school as a “protection factor” and a defense against radicalization of young people can be seen in policy papers like the Danish national anti-radicalization action plan from 2016 and the British “Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015”, which creates a statutory duty for schools to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. The school and education in general are seen as safe spaces.
Notions like “safe space” and school as a “protection factor” reflect an educational discourse that reflect discoursive changes in the larger society and in fields ‘contiguous’ to education such as the criminal justice system (Nolan and Anyon 2004). At the same time the idea of school as a protectoral factor is challenged by critical educational research which is based on the assumption that educational institutional practice produces social and cultural categorizations that marks what is legitimate and illegitimate behavior (Øland 2007, 2012; Bourdieu and Passeron 2006). The school as an institution plays a significant role in these studies and include studies of working class boys meeting with the school's middle and upper class standards (Willis 1977) and bilingual pupils' meeting with 'Danishness' through the teachers’ Danish middle class values (Gilliam 2009). The studies mark the school as an actor in societal social and cultural conflicts and are all concerned with differentiation and marginalization processes. Therefore, it is debatable how schools and education can solve societal challenges. Furthermore, the school faces opposing pressures, on one side it is seen as a means in the global competition with focus on standardization, tests and students’ high achievements and at the same time, the school is expected to focus on inclusive education and prevention of school drop outs.
By examining the school through the lens of crime prevention and anti-radicalization my paper perceive the school as a management technology that is based on assumptions about the person who is the subject of control - here the crime-prone youth and their school participation. In Denmark, anti-radicalization is part of the general crime preventive work which schools take part in by participating in a cross-sectional cooperation called “SSP”. SSP is a locally anchored cooperation of the school (S), social service (S) and the police (P) and it aims at creating a coordinated system of prevention, e.g. to prevent crime or school drop outs. My paper examines how this cross professional meeting outside the school environment produces understandings of crime prone young people's actions and behavior. In his studies about the nature of judgements used by social control professionals to identify signs of anti-social behavior amongst young people referred to early intervention programs, Daniel McCarthy has shown that these judgements can be seen as class correction rather than crime control (McCarthy 2011, 2014).
How is young people’s appropriate conduct and behavior understood, described and judged in a cross professional cooperation that has youth at risk as its focus (SSP)?
How can we understand the role of the school when we perceive it through the lens of crime prevention and anti-radicalization?
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