In an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun, Barbara Babb, associate professor in the University of Baltimore School of Law and director of its Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts, and Gloria H. Danziger, a senior fellow at the center, say their long-time work in addressing chronic school absenteeism could be part of a solution to juvenile crime.
“The voluntary, non-punitive, school-based Truancy Court Program (TCP) identifies and addresses the complex causes of truancy, helping to break the school-to-prison pipeline for at-risk children,” Babb and Danziger write, noting that this therapeutic, holistic approach results in a high rate of return to regular school attendance for a large majority of students.
“While it is easy to assume that truant students are simply ‘problem’ children, that is not the case. Truancy is not an isolated issue in a child’s life and is often an indicator of challenges occurring within the family, school, and/or community,” they say. “The pervasive truancy in Baltimore City is linked to a multitude of psychological, social, economic and cultural problems that affect the daily lives of children and their families.”
Too often, students facing these issues end up in the juvenile justice system. By addressing truancy now, criminality may be headed off later.
Read the op-ed in The Baltimore Sun.
Learn more about the Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts.