Texas students to seek federal help to soften 'cruel' truancy policiesSubmitted by DeMolay on Wed, 06/12/2013 - 08:31
Several students from northeast Texas said they plan to file a federal complaint on Wednesday accusing their school districts of cruel and unusual punishment by prosecuting them in criminal court for missing school or being late for class.
The civil rights complaint, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, is directed at school districts in Dallas and three other communities.
The districts funnel truancy cases to a special court system that prosecuted more than 36,000 cases and collected $2.9 million in fines last year from students convicted of multiple unexcused absences or tardy arrivals, according to the complaint.
Students as young as 12 can be arrested and handcuffed at school. Once they turn 17, they can be jailed for failing to pay past fines, which can run into thousands of dollars, according to the complaint, which was drafted by the National Center for Youth Law and advocacy groups Texas Appleseed and Disability Rights Texas.