|Editor||P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell (eds.) Innovative Practice and Research Trends in Identity, Citizenship and Education|
The aim of the study was to investigate special school students’ interpretations of dropping out of school and ways of avoiding dropping out. A qualitative content analysis was applied in analysing the 21 semi-structured individual interviews. Participants of this study were juvenile delinquents from one of the correctional institutions for girls and all interviewed students had experienced dropping out of school. The study was based on the ecological systems theory and thus, in addition to the risk factors that are related with students themselves, three more categories of risk factors – school, home and peers – were analysed. The results indicate that in relation to school, students assessed risk factors of their dropping out of school as interactions in this system – their negative relationships with classmates and teachers. In relation to home, both negative interactions in the system and parental influence on the student influenced dropping out. In relation to peers, one-way influence from them on dropping out of school appeared and it was related with influence of peers’ antisocial behaviour. In relation to themselves, students did not admit their own part in the relationships within the systems as a risk factor of their dropping out. According to the students’ opinions there were many interactional opportunities for dropout preventions: (1) from the school's point of view, both direct interventions, as well as general preventative methods, were seen as ways to help avoid dropping out of school; (2) in relation to home, mainly parents' ways to avoid dropping out of their daughters appeared; (3) students’ own activities in avoiding dropping out were divided into two categories – positive school-related and peer-related activities.