Dallas Constables To Halt Truancy Arrests at Schools As Changes are Planned


Dallas County constables this summer will stop making truancy-related arrests of students at school while officials develop proposed changes to a court system targeted in a complaint to the U.S. Justice Department, reports the Dallas Morning News. Judge Clay Jenkins, who oversees the county's prolific truancy courts, said the changes will be aimed at limiting the number of students that area schools label as truant. He wants to leave largely intact a court system that he says is the best way to keep disengaged students from becoming dropouts. On-campus arrests of some students could resume later. Other expected changes include asking school districts to file no more than one truancy case per student per school year and adopting a uniform policy on when to count a student as tardy instead of absent. His comments came after three advocacy groups filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department alleging that the state's criminalization of truancy and the county's court fines amount to cruel and unusual punishment. Federal officials are reviewing the complaint.

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