According to this study, the process of becoming a school dropout begins in middle school. Children at this stage either form the good habits necessary to become graduates, or they form the harmful habits that will prevent them from academic completion.
For lower income students, this is often the time in their lives where new, more adult challenges come into play. They may be recruited to take care of younger siblings, or to get jobs in order to contribute to household finances. It is also the time when it’s most likely that they will be introduced to drug use and/or criminal activity.