Students in the Justice System

Ohio’s Justice-Involved Students

Some of Ohio’s students enter the juvenile justice system or the adult court system. Depending on the details and timing of their individual court case, they may return to school in the community, receive an education in a county juvenile detention center or transfer to a state facility school system operated by the Department of Youth Services or the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. For more information on the steps a student’s case may take in Ohio, visit the Department of Youth Services Juvenile Justice Flow Chart.

Throughout a student’s court proceedings, students are entitled to a free appropriate public education. If a student is in a county juvenile detention center, the detention facility is responsible for coordinating the education of the child.

A student is also entitled to an education when sent to a state facility, their home district will transfer the student to the facility’s respective educational programming. Whether at the local-level or state-level, educational programming in secure settings is expected to meet the Department’s state minimum for instructional seat time, properly certified or licensed educators and follow Ohio’s learning standards and model curricula.

Regardless of whether a student receives educational services at the district of residence or in a separate public or private facility as determined by the student’s IEP team (or through court-ordered placement), the district of residence must ensure that the educational programs for its students meet state standards.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) emphasizes the educational stability of vulnerable students, including those who are involved in the juvenile justice system. The Department of Education and Workforce builds upon this need for educational stability of vulnerable students.

Every student deserves the opportunity to engage in quality educational programming, including those in the juvenile justice system. To meet the needs for educational stability of students that transition to and from out-of-home placement due to court involvement, districts are required to designate a point of contact to ensure coordination of student transition.

Responsibilities of the Justice-Involved Youth Liaison

Each Ohio school district designates an justice-involved youth liaison. The liaison works with juvenile detention centers, local juvenile courts, community agencies and community partners to best support students in the juvenile justice system. A justice-involved youth liaison is responsible for the following:

  • Communicates with local detention and other treatment facilities regarding student placement.
  • Assists in the transfer of student records (including IEPs).
  • Assists in the transfer of credits.
  • Serves as a liaison between the district and the local juvenile court.
  • Develops transition plans for students returning from the juvenile justice system.
  • Attends training on supports for students returning from detention or other secure facilities.
  • Coordinates with local state agencies and other districts within Ohio on the educational needs of students in the juvenile justice system.

The Ohio Educational Directory System (OEDS) has the name, phone number and email address of each local school district justice-involved youth liaison. To access the information for a justice-involved youth liaison, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the OEDS Directory
  2. Search the school district name and then click on the district.
  3. Once on the district’s page, select “personnel” from the top search bar.
  4. In “Roles Available to this Organization,” search: Justice-Involved Youth Liaison – ESSA.

Education of Students in Juvenile Detention Centers

Students may be held in local juvenile detention centers while their cases move through the juvenile court system. While these students are in secure facilities, the local detention centers are required by law to coordinate the education of each student.

Ohio has 33 county-run juvenile detention centers that serve all 88 counties in Ohio. Local law enforcement agencies or juvenile courts determine whether a student should be held in a detention facility.

Juvenile detention facilities are responsible for coordinating the education of each child. The facility may coordinate the education using any of the following educational options, according to Ohio law:

  • If applicable, use the chartered nonpublic school that the facility operates.
  • Arrange with the school district responsible for bearing the cost of educating the child, for the facility to educate the child on its own.
  • Contract with an educational service center for the service center to educate the student.
  • Contract with the school district in which the facility is located for that school district to educate the child.
  • If the student is enrolled in an internet- or computer-based community school and provided that the facility possesses the necessary hardware, software, and internet connectivity, permit continued instruction of the student by the internet- or computer-based community school.


Students with Disabilities within the Juvenile Justice System

In Ohio, the school district of residence is responsible for ensuring that all requirements under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are met for every eligible student in its jurisdiction, regardless of where services are provided. This includes students with disabilities within the juvenile justice system.

Regardless of where a student in placed within Ohio’s juvenile justice system, whether it be local-level or state-level, each student is entitled to a quality education. Students with disabilities also receive supplemental services associated with their Individual Education Program (IEP). School districts must ensure that all students with disabilities, including students with disabilities in community corrections facilities and juvenile detention centers, have access to appropriate educational services.

Students within the Ohio juvenile justice system who have been identified with special needs are entitled to the same educational rights as any other student. The Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA) protects the rights of the students with disabilities and the rights of their parents. Juvenile detention centers are required through IDEA to provide these special services. When a student’s Individual Education Program (IEP) requires services outside of the detention center’s programming, the detention center must coordinate the implementation of these services through the student’s district of residence or contract with the local educational service center to provide such services for the student for the duration of the student’s stay.


Federal Guidance and Resources


State and Federal Organizations

Last Modified: 12/1/2023 3:55:59 PM