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About 1 in 14 kids has a parent who has been incarcerated. In predominantly black and Latino communities, that portion is even higher. Because families are not required to disclose parental incarceration, schools can find it difficult to identify students for extra services and supports, but that’s one area where teacher training can help.
Anna Haskins, an assistant professor of sociology at Cornell University, has studied the particular impact paternal incarceration has on young boys. Looking at boys ages 1 to 5 years old, Haskins found paternal incarceration can be tied to greater non-cognitive behavioral problems, which in turn contribute to more frequent placement in special education classes by the time these kids turn 9. Her research emphasizes the importance of beginning interventions early in elementary school. Waiting until middle or high school can be too late.