Targeting School Truancy Outside of the Juvenile Justice System
Beginning this week, students in Los Angeles’ Unified School District who are truant three times or more will no longer be automatically ticketed and sent to court.
Instead, the youth will first be sent to a counselor at a Youth WorkForce Center, who will be tasked with figuring out what is causing the truancy in the first place. The counselor will then seek to provide the tools to fix the problem, and hopefully increase the number of kids who graduate rather than drop out.
Under the previous policy, three truancy violations resulted in a ticket, which required the youth to appear in court with his or her parent, and pay a hefty fine. This resulted in an estimated 10,000 tickets each school year.
School officials and court administrators are hoping this policy will reduce court costs and permit more efficient use of judicial resources, as well as ensure truancy is better addressed in Los Angeles.
The post above is reprinted with permission from the blog of Right on Crime, a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a research institute in Austin, TX.
Jeanette Moll is a juvenile justice policy analyst in the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Prior to joining TPPF, she served as a legislative aide in the Wisconsin Legislature, where she dealt with various policy issues, media affairs, and constituent outreach. Moll earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She then earned a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law, where she served on the board of the Texas Review of Litigation and interned with a federal bankruptcy judge, a Texas appellate court judge, and a central Texas law office.
*Photo by Flickr user Ladyislandguahan