As members of Oxford County’s law enforcement community, we applaud Oxford Hills School District for beginning to offer pre-kindergarten for its children next year.

There are many reasons why high-quality pre-K is beneficial, but chief among them, in our minds, is that it can put children on the right track early in life so they are less likely to become involved with the criminal justice system.

But don’t just take our word for it — a long-term study of the Chicago Child-Parent Centers preschool program found that children who did not participate in the program were 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18, compared with their peers who attended the program. Additionally, nonparticipants were 24 percent more likely to have served time in jail when they were young adults.

These results are due in part to the fact that quality early childhood education programs lay a solid foundation by providing children with critical early math and reading skills, as well as the social and emotional skills they need to succeed in school. Kids who receive high-quality pre-K start school ready to learn, are more likely to graduate from high school on time, and are less likely to lead a life of crime.

Quality early learning is one of the most powerful crime prevention tools and we are glad that Oxford Hills schools will bring its benefits to our communities.

Robert Federico, Norway Chief of Police, Jeffrey Lange, Paris Chief of Police, Jonathan Tibbetts, Oxford Chief of Police

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