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Texas children face jail time for skipping school

TEXAS KIDStruancy ashley br Texas children face jail time for skipping school

Ashley Brown, pictured with her mother, says she was treated like a common criminal in Truancy Court

Texas children face jail time for skipping school

Ashley Brown, pictured with her mother, says she was treated like a common criminal in Truancy Court.

By BreakingDown.com

Texas is criminalizing students who miss class by sending them to adult courts where they face fines and jail time. Three child advocacy groups have reportedly filed a complaint with the Justice Department, calling the policy of prosecuting students for missing school “cruel and unusual” punishment, reports the Dallas Morning News.

“You have the adults pushing kids into this court system that could ultimately lead to them being locked up for very, very minor behavior,” Michael Harris, a senior lawyer at the National Center for Youth Law, told the New York Times.

It is also incomprehensible how Texas’ truancy courts, or any criminalization of truancy for that matter, does less damage to children than missing school. In that sense, the cure is worse than the disease. But some school systems, such as Mississippi’s, which recently settled a suit brought against it by the Justice Department, have instituted school to prison pipelines. This is becoming increasingly common now that many states are contractually obligated by private prison companies to keep state prisons filled to 90 percent capacity.

Students who miss more than 10 days of school without a note are reported to the courts as truant and prosecuted by adult courts. Last year Texas prosecuted more than double the number of truancy cases in all other states combined, 113,000, collecting $2.9 million in fines, according to the Associated Press.

 

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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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