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Some See Correlation Between Dropout, Crime Rates

Reported: Apr. 24, 2014 7:10 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 24, 2014 11:02 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Taisha Walker) -- The 19-year-old who was gunned down on Charleston’s West Side Wednesday night was a former Capitol High School student.

Tymel McKinney never got a chance to graduate because he dropped out.

According to Education Week, 70 percent of U.S. crimes are committed by a high school dropout. While 60 percent of black drop outs end up in prison.

One West Virginia educator said people that decide to quit school usually wind up down one of those two paths.

Capital High School principal Clinton Giles said that is true especially for black males.

He said dropouts that fall under that demographic will more than likely die at an early age or will constantly move through the justice system.

Giles said it's not just a West Side problem or a West Virginia problem, but he said people should be concerned because dropouts affect everyone.

"A student that drops out is a drain on the economy,” he said. “That student isn't producing income or isn't acquiring income, isn't paying into the tax system and, in fact, everyone else is paying to support that person."

The dropout rate at Capital is 5.7 percent, lower than last year, but still higher than where the school would like to be.

Meshea Poore, delegate for West Virginia's 37th district, said education legislation and laws to help deter crimes are important, but she stresses people in the community, especially on the West Side, have to come together and focus on the children living there.

"In the sense of this, it doesn't matter what you have on paper," Poore said. "We have to make sure that we allow people to know that this is a great place to live and that crime is not our normal, will not be our normal and we don't accept the label people are trying to put on the West side."

Giles said schools can only teach students for a small portion of the day. He said its up to the community to continue that education outside of the classroom.



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