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Targeting Truancy Outside of the Juvenile Justice System

| August 23, 2012

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.

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