National Center for Youth Law

STRATEGIES

Dallas County Truancy Court

This civil rights complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice on June 12, 2013, concerns a particularly harmful aspect of the school-to-prison pipeline in Texas – the use of criminal courts to prosecute youth for truancy, and the way that school district’s violations of students’ civil and educational rights directly contribute to this problem.

Latest News

Overview

This federal civil rights complaint filed June 12, 2013, concerns a particularly harmful aspect of the school-to-prison pipeline in Texas – the use of criminal courts to prosecute youth for truancy, and the way that school district’s violations of students’ civil and educational rights directly contribute to this problem. The complaint focuses on Dallas County Texas and four local school districts – Dallas, Garland, Mesquite and Richardson Independent School Districts – that funnel students into this court system.

The compliant filed in conjunction with Texas Appleseed and Disability Rights Texas contends prosecuting truancy as a crime constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of students’ Eighth Amendment constitutional rights.  The complaint also alleges that Dallas, Mesquite, Garland, and Richardson school districts (all in Dallas County) are employing “inconsistent and inflexible” attendance policies and practices that violate the civil rights of students with disabilities and limited English proficiency.

Press Coverage

Documents

Complaint Filed June 12, 2013

Letter Adding Three Additional Complainants

Texas Appleseed Report: Criminalization of Truancy in Texas

Youthlaw News Articles