After a long-fought battle by advocates, Texas signs a bill to decriminalize truancy.
News Story (Texas)
Associated Press (AP)
June 20, 2015
Tags: School-to-Prison Pipeline, Schools: Discipline
Organizations mentioned/involved: Texas Appleseed, Department of Justice (DOJ)
In 2013, Texas prosecuted about 115,000 cases, more than twice the number of truancy cases filed in juvenile courts of all other states, according to a report from the nonprofit advocacy group Texas Appleseed. An estimated $10 million was collected from court costs and fines from students for truancy in fiscal year 2014 alone, the Texas Office of Court Administration said.
Texas Appleseed says the policies disproportionately affected low-income, Hispanic, black and disabled students. The group was also among several groups that filed a U.S. Justice Department complaint about Dallas County’s specialty truancy courts, which in 2012 prosecuted over 36,000 cases, more than any other Texas county. The Justice Department in March began looking into whether students had received due process, something spokeswoman Dena Iverson said will continue as the department evaluates the new legislation’s impact.