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its surrounding areas.

Link between chronic truancy and juvenile crime recognized

Parents are responsible for teaching their children right from wrong. Yet, children don’t always listen. They want to live their own life and make their own decisions. They might start by skipping school which then leads to more serious violations such as shoplifting, sexting or underage drinking. Eventually, even the most exemplary parents can be faced with the harsh reality that their child has been charged with a juvenile crime.

The California attorney general recently organized a conference regarding the role that school attendance plays in preventing juvenile crimes. The district attorney of Alameda County also recognizes this correlation and is working to help families overcome challenges that may lead to truancies. It doesn’t matter if the absences are excused by parents or not. Even children who frequently miss school because of health issues are more likely to commit crimes later in life. For this reason, the district attorney’s office has partnered with other members of the community—including the schools and Health Care Services—to increase school attendance.

Chronic truancies can land children—and their parents—in court. The penalties for students become increasingly more severe with each infraction. Parents who are unable to instill the importance of attending school in their children can be subject to monetary fines each time the student skips school and could also be ordered to attend parenting classes. Things become more complicated when your child allegedly committed crimes while skipping school. In order to ensure that your child is treated fairly, it is usually a good idea to seek legal representation. An attorney that is familiar with the juvenile justice system may be able to persuade the court to use leniency and order rehabilitation rather than detention or other penalties.

Source: SFGate.com, “Keeping kids in school, out of jail,” Nancy O’Malley, Sep. 29, 2013.

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